The formation and development of blood vessels - or angiogenesis - is a vital natural process occurring in the body, both in health and in disease. More than US$4 billion has been invested in the research and development of medicines to promote or reduce angiogenesis, making it one of the most heavily funded areas of medical research today.
An Insight in the 15 Dec 05 issue of Nature (Vol. 438, No. 7070) describes many of the physiological and pathophysiological processes of both angiogenesis and lymphogenesis - the growth of new lymph vessels. Looking at vessel development, through to immune response and nervous system function, the Insight also highlights some exciting new therapeutic applications that have recently been made available.
Angiogenesis is a fundamental process during development, but it also occurs in adulthood during wound healing or restoring blood flow to injured tissues. Regulated by a very sensitive interplay of growth factors and inhibitors, an imbalance in this process can lead to disease. In cancer, too much angiogenesis can feed the diseased tissue and aid the destruction of normal tissue. Conversely, too little angiogenesis can also cause its own set of problems. In conditions such as coronary heart disease, inadequate blood-vessel growth can cause poor circulation and tissue death.
The full contents of this Insight and contact details are listed below:
Angiogenesis in life, disease and medicine (pp. 932-936)
Peter Carmeliet (University of Leuven, Belgium)
Endothelial cells and VEGF in vascular development (pp. 937-945)
Janet Rossant (The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada)
Lymphangiogenesis in development and human disease (pp. 946-953)
Kari Alitalo (University of Helsinki, Finland)
From angiogenesis to neuropathology (pp. 954-959)
David Greenburg (Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, CA, USA)
Retinal angiogenesis in development and disease (pp. 960-966)
Ray Gariano (Stanford University, CA, USA)
Angiogenesis as a therapeutic target (pp. 967-974)
Napoleone Ferrara (Genentech, South San Francisco, CA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza