New approach to tumor treatment
When cancer breaks out, it is very difficult to treat the tumors yourself. A new approach is to cut off the blood supply to the ulcer. This is done with the help of drugs that prevent the formation of new blood vessels. Fighting tumor cells is difficult: They are genetically very unstable and therefore tend to become resistant to the active ingredients used in chemotherapy. But tumors also have a sore point: their blood supply. They die if not nourished by adequate blood supply during their rapid growth. The lining of the blood vessels that supply the tumor is made up of a tissue called vascular endothelium. The cells of this tissue are genetically stable and therefore sensitive to drug attack.
Tumors cannot grow beyond microscopic size without forming new blood vessels, and they remain dormant or even regress if prevented, says Robert S. Kerbel of the University of Toronto, Ontario.
In the November 27, 1997 issue of Nature, Judah Folkman of the Dana Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston and her colleagues describe the effect of endostatin. This active ingredient prevents the growth of blood vessels. The scientists were able to induce tumor regression in mice with cancer tumors by treating them with endostatin. Another consequence of repeated therapy was that following treatment, the tumors remained inactive for longer, even without the administration of endostatin.
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