Sanford-Burnham study finds helping tumor blood vessels mature could make cancer drugs more effective
To survive, tumors need blood supply to provide them with nutrients and oxygen. To get that supply, cancer cells stimulate new blood vessel growth—a process called tumor angiogenesis. What if, rather than putting a stop to angiogenesis, we could help tumor blood vessels mature more completely, so tumor-killing therapies could more effectively reach their targets? In a paper published August 14 in the journal Cancer Cell, Sanford-Burnham researchers found a molecule that promotes the tumor vessel maturation process—a discovery that might provide a method for improving cancer drug delivery.
Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.