Antibody May Make Tumor Vessels ‘Healthier’ So They’ll Less Aggressive and More Treatable

Antibody May Make Tumor Vessels ‘Healthier’ So They’ll Less Aggressive and More Treatable
Tumor blood vessels are chaotic with poor and restricted blood flow compared to vessels in healthy tissues, a problem that limits cancer treatments from reaching tumors via the bloodstream. But researchers have developed an antibody, called ABTAA, that might be used to re-establish the structural and functional integrity of the tumor vasculature. The study, "Normalization of Tumor Vessels by Tie2 Activation and Ang2 Inhibition Enhances Drug Delivery and Produces a Favorable Tumor Microenvironment," published in Cancer Cell, shows that ABTAA may not only reduce tumor aggressiveness, but also improve delivery of anti-cancer drugs to tumor sites. In healthy tissues, blood vessels form a patterned and functioning vasculature with a hierarchical organization of arteries, capillaries, and veins. Such vessels are lined by closely attached endothelial cells, and surrounded by pericytes that help to maintain their integrity and support blood flow without collapsing. In established tumors, the vasculature is highly dysfunctional and lacks hierarchical organization. These vessels also lack an intact vessel wall, showing broken endothelial junctions and pericytes that are often detached. As a result, blood flow within the tumor is severely restricted, and the tumor becomes hypoxic — registering low oxygen levels. This is important because tumors are known to transform in response to hypoxia, altering their microenvironment and becoming more aggressive and metastatic. "When the tumor is established, hypoxia is the mai
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