Angiogenesis, the process by which tumor cells recruit new blood vessels that both feed the tumor with nutrients and provide a conduit for the cancer cells to spread throughout the body, is essential to the survival of most cancers. For some time, researchers have considered the proteins involved in angiogenesis as attractive therapeutic targets; however, these new molecular findings may propose an alternative path to treatment.
In a study published in the March issue of the journal Molecular Cell, a team from the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, together with colleagues from the VCU School of Medicine and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, reported that the Tie1 receptor interacts with and inhibits another essential protein, known as Tie2, involved in angiogenesis.
“Our study provides the first evidence for the mechanistic role of Tie1 in angiogenesis and suggests that an alternate therapeutic target may be more viable than those tested in the past, such as the highly regarded drug target, Ang2. Instead, this work suggests a new interaction ripe for therapeutic development,” said William A. Barton, Ph.D., assistant professor for the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Program at the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the VCU School of Medicine.
“This could ultimately lead to improved anti-cancer treatments,” said Barton, who led the efforts at VCU. Dimitar Nikolov, Ph.D., led the efforts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
This work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Massey Cancer Center.
Sathya Achia Abraham
VCU Communications and Public Relations