What is angiogenesis?
Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is a process controlled by certain chemicals produced in the body. Although this may help in normal wound healing, cancer can grow when these new blood vessels are created. Angiogenesis provides cancer cells with oxygen and nutrients. This allows the cancer cells to multiply, invade nearby tissue, and spread to other areas of the body (metastasize).
What are angiogenesis inhibitors and how do they work?
A chemical that interferes with the signals to form new blood vessels is referred to as an angiogenesis inhibitor.
Sometimes called antiangiogenic therapy, this experimental treatment may prevent the growth of cancer by blocking the formation of new blood vessels. In some animal case studies, angiogenesis inhibitors have caused cancer to shrink and resolve completely.
In humans, angiogenesis inhibitors are only used in clinical trials at this time. These drugs are still considered investigational. Research studies are now underway to help scientists learn whether the approach will apply to human cancers. Patients with cancers of the breast, prostate, pancreas, lung, stomach, ovary, cervix, and others are being studied. If the research studies demonstrate that angiogenesis inhibitors are both safe and effective for cancer treatment in humans, these drugs will need approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to become available for widespread use.