Angiogenesis Therapy for Mesothelioma

Angiogenesis is becoming more and more popular as a potential revolutionary treatment for deadly cancers like mesothelioma.  In order to properly understand how angiogenesis can help victims of mesothelioma, it is important to understand how tumors grow, and what angiogenesis can do to stop them.

1. How do cancerous mesothelioma tumors grow?
Like every other cell in the human body, cancer needs blood to grow and thrive. Tumors actually need more blood than other tissues, because their rapid replication and division require more nourishment that what normal cells use.

2. Where does this blood come from to support angiogenesis in mesothelioma victims?
This blood is supplied by a complicated plumbing involving minute blood vessels called capillaries and larger blood vessels such as arteries and veins which supply blood to the growing tumor. The medical term for developing this network is called angiogenesis.

3.  How can mesothelioma tumors grow so fast to be dangerous?
Tumors are very efficient at initiating and maintaining angiogenesis. They create chemicals called angiogenesis promoters which enhance surrounding tissues’ blood transfer system to supply the oxygen-rich blood they need to survive. As the tumor grows larger and larger, more blood is diverted until the tumor reaches its maximum size and spreads into healthy tissues. When cancerous cells spread to other tissues, they begin to replicate themselves and replace healthy cells, restarting the deadly process anew.

4. How does angiogenesis affect the growth of mesothelioma tumors?
For mesothelioma, the slow onset of the disease combined with its close location to many oxygen-rich blood vessels makes angiogenesis very easy.  The tumors have decades to become entrenched in the body, and allow them to grow undisturbed while they poison the surrounding tissues.

5. What can angiogenesis do for victims of mesothelioma?
Breakthroughs in medical science have produced drugs called angiogenic inhibitors that target and destroy the specific proteins that enable angiogenesis. Clinical studies have demonstrated the ability of these drugs to shut down the capillary response of tumors in lab animals, often causing tumors to completely disappear.

6. How do angiogenic inhibitors try to destroy tumors?
Some of them work by destroying the lining inside the blood vessels in the tumor, while others prevent them from developing blood vessels entirely.  Essentially, the tumors starve to death because they cannot regrow the “plumbing” they need to supply themselves with blood.

7.  What does angiogenesis mean for victims of mesothelioma?
Angiogenic drug tests have only been conducted on animals thus far, but the results are quite promising. The first human tests are now being conducted at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Even though the initial stages of angiogenic inhibitors generate modest results, this type of treatment holds great promise for mesothelioma victims. New treatments take years before they are safe enough to be available to the public at large, but the brave individuals who participate in clinical studies are on the front line in mesothelioma research.

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Angiogenesis Therapy for Mesothelioma page updated on 1/11/2012