New anti-angiogenic proteins discovered

Scientists at UCLA and Human Genome Sciences report discovery of two human proteins, METH-1 and METH-2, that inhibit blood vessel formation

More potent than endostatin, with potential for treating a range of cancer tumors

A team of scientists working at UCLA and Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ: HGSI) discovered two human proteins that inhibit the formation of new blood vessels and have potential for treating cancer through suppression of tumor growth.

The two proteins, named METH-1 and METH-2, were shown to be much more active than endostatin in preventing blood vessel formation and may have applications in creating treatments for a broad range of tumor types.

The discovery of these two proteins and their anti-angiogenic activity is described in the August 13, 1999 issue of Journal of Biological Chemistry. The paper may be accessed at http://www.jbc.org .

The team, led by UCLA molecular biologist Luisa Iruela-Arispe, found that both METH-1 and METH-2 inhibited blood vessel formation in two standard biological model systems, the cornea pocket model and the chorioallontoic membrane model.

The ability of METH-1 and METH-2 to inhibit new blood vessel formation in the cornea pocket model was compared to that of both endostatin and thrombospondin, two other human proteins. The study showed that METH-1 was most potent in inhibiting blood vessel growth, followed by thrombospondin and endostatin.

A solid tumor cannot grow beyond the size of a pinhead unless it has an independent blood supply to deliver the oxygen and nutrients that the malignancy needs to advance and spread. To feed itself, a tumor develops its own blood supply, a process called angiogenesis. Researchers hope anti-angiogenic drugs can interrupt that process, thereby cutting off the blood supply to the tumor and, hopefully, killing it.

Contact: Kate de Santis
Human Genome Sciences, Inc.

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