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Home >  Experimental treatment > Antiangiogenesis therapy in Mesothelioma treatment

Antiangiogenesis therapy in Mesothelioma treatment

Antiangiogenesis therapy is one of types of experimental treatments that is used along with traditional therapies.

Tumor angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) is the growth of blood vessels from surrounding tissue to the tumor. This process is usually caused by the release of chemicals that is induced by the tumor.

A special substance called angiogenesis inhibitor may be used to prevent the formation of blood vessels. It is especially important in anticancer therapy because it can help to stop the growth of blood vessels to a solid tumor.

A special protein called angiostatin can be used for this purpose. It can be made either by the body or in the laboratory. Right now it is being studied as a treatment of cancer.

Antiangiogenesis - prevention of the growth of new blood vessels.

Cancer cells as any other cell need blood to thrive and grow. Rapid division and replication of cancer cells require more nourishment that what normal cells use. A special network that consists of capillaries (minute blood vessels), arteries and veins supplies blood to the growing tumor. This process is called angiogenesis.

Tumors compel surrounding tissues' blood transfer system to supply them with the oxygen-rich blood by using special chemicals called angiogenesis promoters. As tumor grows larger and larger, more and more blood is diverted. After the tumor reaches its maximum size it starts to metastizes into healthy tissues replicating its cells and replacing healthy cells.

Due to the location of mesothelioma close to many oxygen-rich blood vessels it makes angiogenesis very easy. The only way to prevent is using special drugs called angiogenic inhibitors that destroy angiogenesis promoters. These drugs have an ability to shut down the capillary response of tumors. Sometimes it can even cause tumors to completely disappear. Some of them prevent from developing blood vessels entirely while others work by destroying the lining inside the blood vessels in the tumor.

This type of treatment holds great promise for mesothelioma victims despite the fact that the initial stages of angiogenic inhibitors generate modest results. This kind of treatment was recently developed, so years may pass before they are safe enough to be available to the public at large. But right now some brave individuals participate in clinical studies.

There are two most important factors that control blood vessel growth. They are called basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

The levels of VEGF in people with mesothelioma are very high. The blocking of this factor could control the growth of blood vessels that supply the mesothelioma tumours. Natural body substances (or drugs that block them) are used to treat cancer.

There are 2 agents that stop production of VEGF that are used in going on trials:

- SU5416

- Bevaci(z)umab

The safety of this kind of treatment has already been proved. Right now it is necessary to see which types of cancer it may help.

Bevaci(z)umab has been tested as a drug for different cancers such as mesothelioma, non-small-cell lung, and prostate cancers and bowel, kidney, breast, ovarian cancers. According to one trial that has been recently carried out, this drug increase survival for patients with lung cancer. Combination of Bevaci(z)umab with the chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and gemcitabine is being tested for mesothelioma. But still much mire trials are needed to understand the effectiveness of Bevaci(z)umab. Another possible drug that is being tested is SU 4561.

There are evidences of that higher VEGF expression is linked to poor outcome for patients with NSCLC. Avastin may effectively neutralize all biologically active forms of VEGF and in that way cause dose-dependent reduction in tumor growth.

Despite that the effectiveness of new treatments like photodynamic therapy, angiogenesis therapy and gene therapy is not completely proven it provides new hope for mesothelioma patients.

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