The Biology of Angiogenesis
December 01, 2007
Angiogenesis is the process of new blood vessel growth. In malignant tumors this process is essential for the delivery of needed nutrients and oxygen for the continued growth and survival of cancer cells. Thus the process of angiogenesis and the subsequent development of therapies that inhibit the process have generated great interest since Judah Folkman's original hypothesis was presented over 3 decades ago. Folkman's studies in the 1970s sparked interest in the science of angiogenesis and led to the first specific therapy to inhibit angiogenesis, but it was not until 2004 that the first antiangiogenesis agent, bevacizumab (Avastin), was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in combination with chemotherapy. Since then, two multitargeted or dual action oral agents have been FDA-approved. Advances have also been made in understanding the science of antiangiogenesis, which has contributed to the design of agents as well as clinical trials in the treatment of several tumor types and is being studied actively in many others.