Tumor blood supply development studied

April 6, 2010 at 8:52 AM
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WORCESTER, Mass., April 6 (UPI) -- U.S. medical scientists say they've identified a genetic pathway that's responsible for vascular growth and might be used to suppress tumor development.

University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers said most solid cancers can't grow beyond a limited size without an adequate blood supply and its supporting vascular network.

In their study, which involved blood vessel growth in zebrafish embryos, the scientists said they discovered a critical step for blood vessel growth that provides new insight into how vascular systems develop and offers a potential therapeutic target for preventing tumor growth.

The scientists, led by Associate Professor Nathan Lawson, said their findings show how vascular systems use the forces of existing blood flow to initiate the growth of a new vessel.

The research is detailed in the early online edition of the journal Nature.

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