Unexpected lock and key mechanism found for the assembly of tumor blood vessels

ge of blood vessel development, which occurs mainly in tumors in adults," said Varner. "This was a chance discovery, which was exciting, and we think it may have important clinical significance."

In their current studies of breast cancer patients for the presence of the integrin and VCAM, "We want to know if the integrins predict aggressive breast cancer. If so, this could become a valuable, non-invasive diagnostic tool for cancer," said Varner.

In addition, knowing how blood vessels are finally assembled could help lead to effective ways to stop the proliferation of cancer cells by cutting off their nutrient supply, Varner added. Drs. Varner and Parker are currently in discussions with pharmaceutical companies to test integrin inhibitors in cancer clinical trials at the new Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

Varner's colleagues in the study included Barbara Garmy-Susini, Hui Jin, Yuhong Zhu, Rou-Jia Sung and Rosa Hwang, all of UCSD.


Contact: Leslie Franz
University of California - San Diego

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