According to Dr. William Li
Treatments for halting the growth of cancer-feeding blood vessels could be key to treating tumors and could also have positive effects on reducing obesity, according to Dr. William Li, head of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a non-profit behind much of the research into these new treatments.
The treatments inhibit a process that occurs naturally in our bodies, called angiogenesis.
Cancer cells mutate and gain the ability to release lots of angiogenesis factors that tip the balance in favor of blood vessels invading the cancer. Once those vessels invade a tumor, it can expand, and the same vessels feeding the tumor allows cancer cells to then exit into the circulation as metastases. This late stage of cancer is the one at which the disease is most likely to be diagnosed but the most difficult to treat.
But if angiogenesis is a tipping point between a harmless cancer and a harmful one, then one major part of treating cancer would be cutting its blood supply.
There are already pioneer treatments available for humans – called anti-angiogenic treatments – that became available starting in 2004, using 12 different drugs to treat 11 different cancer types. Another 100 or so drugs are in the pipeline.
The results of the treatments are that there has been a 70 to 100 percent improvement in survival for people with kidney cancers, colo-rectal cancer, and gastrointestinal tumors. For other cancer types, the improvements have only been mild.
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