BLOOD VESSELS: GROWTH AREA
A new-found molecule that controls blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) in specific parts of the body offers a new view of angiogenesis — the perturbation of which contributes to cancers, blindness and arthritis.
During the past decade, a number of general angiogenic molecules have been identified that broadly and nonspecifically affect the growth of blood vessels in most organs. The newly discovered molecule, EG-VEGF, report Napoleone Ferrara and colleagues of Genetech Inc., San Francisco, California, in this week’s Nature (Vol. 412, No. 6850, 30 Aug 2001), is the first to influence only one type of tissue — the lining tissues or endothelium of the endocrine glands, the organs that produce steroid hormones essential for growth, metabolism, stress, reproduction and sexual development.
"This discovery suggests that additional tissue-specific angiogenic molecules exist. If so, this would create numerous novel — and likely safer — therapeutic possibilities to stimulate or inhibit angiogenesis more selectively in diseased tissues without affecting healthy organs," says Peter Carmeliet of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, in an accompanying News and Views article.
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