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How Do Angiogenesis Inhibitors Work?

How Do Angiogenesis Inhibitors Work?

Judah Folkman, MD, developed the current concept of angiogenesis inhibitors for cancer therapy over the last several decades. Dr. Folkman's research demonstrated that solid tumors could not grow beyond the size of a pinhead without inducing the formation of new blood vessels.

Angiogenesis inhibitors are designed to:

  • Prevent, slow down or block activators of blood vessel formation and cancer growth.
  • Reduce the tumor's blood supply by potentially causing existing small blood vessels in the tumor to die.
  • Be used in combination with other cancer drugs such as chemotherapy and radiation. Studies indicate that angiogenesis inhibitors can make these therapies more effective.
  • Offer two benefits due to oxygen regulation:
    1. Normalizing some blood vessels concurrently helps normalize oxygen levels and works against cancer progression.
    2. Increasing oxygen levels might make radiation therapy more effective.

Researchers have theorized that improved efficacy with combination chemotherapy is due to angiogenesis inhibitors killing some blood vessels, but strengthening others. The stronger, more organized blood vessels are then able to more effectively deliver chemotherapy into cancer cells.

Although it is traditionally believed that oxygen supports cancer, due to genetic mutations, cancer cells thrive in a low oxygen environment. The lower the oxygen levels, the more malignant and metastatic cancer cells become.

What other terms are used for angiogenesis inhibitors?

  • Signal transduction inhibitors
  • Endothelial cell inhibitors
  • Anti-VEGF antibodies
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitor

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