STOPPING NEW BLOOD VESSELS
ANCHOR LEAD: KEEPING TUMORS FROM STIMULATING NEW BLOOD VESSEL GROWTH COULD KEEP THE CANCER IN CHECK, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
New blood vessels are critical to tumor survival, with some existing drugs designed to inhibit this process, called angiogenesis. Now a Johns Hopkins team led by Gregg Semenza has found that a protein called hypoxia-inducible factor, or HIF-1, helps to initiate the process, which can be inhibited by certain chemotherapy drugs.
SEMENZA: One of the things that has been found is that within certain cancers high levels of HIF-1 expression are associated with increased risk of patients dying of their disease. So by identifying the role of HIF-1 in this process, and the fact that HIF-1 seems to be the target that’s affected by doxorubicin therapy, we think that particular cancers, those that HIF-1 is expressed at high levels, may be particularly responsive to this sort of therapy. :28
Semenza says animal models have shown that lower, daily doses of agents such as doxorubicin may inhibit HIF-1 and thus tumor growth. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.