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Investigating the growth of blood vessels towards tumours

  • Researcher: Dr Pipsa Saharinen
  • Institution: University of Helsinki
  • Award Amount: £123,533 for 3 years from January 2012
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Investigating the growth of blood vessels towards tumours
In order for tumours to grow larger than about 1 millimetre across they must have their own blood supply to enable enough oxygen and nutrients to reach the cells. New drugs that can prevent tumours from doing this are therefore being sought by scientists as a way to treat cancer patients. One molecule involved in the growth of blood vessels is Ang2.  Using animal models and human patients it has already been shown that turning off Ang2 can reduce the growth of tumours, including advanced tumours which often remain unaffected by current cancer drugs designed to block tumour blood vessel growth. While turning off Ang2 seems to hold promise as a new way to treat tumours, little is known about what Ang2 actually does in the cell. Dr Pipsa Saharinen is therefore using her Worldwide Cancer Research grant to investigate the role of Ang2 and what effects may be caused if it is turned off in cells to stop blood vessel growth.  She will also try to discover what other molecules Ang2 works with.  This information will be extremely important if drugs that switch off Ang2 are developed further as a way to prevent the growth and spread of cancer.
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