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Angiogenesis is of considerable biological and medical importance. Especially solid tumors depend on a capillary network that grows with the tumor (tumor-induced angiogenesis or angioneogenesis). The vascular endothelial growth factor VEGF plays a central role in this process.
Increased expression of VEGF is associated with angiogenesis, malignancy, tumor progression and thus poor prognosis.
VEGF-neutralizing antibodies (s.a. Bevacizumab) play an essential role in the therapy of solid tumors today. They are in clinical trials in malignant melanoma. " Knockout mice" as animal models are frequently used in tumour research and enable the further development of newer antibodies.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as imatinib also influence angiogenesis. Imatinib specifically blocks the binding site for ATP at the tyrosine kinase and inhibits the transfer of ATP phosphate groups to tyrosine residues of the substrate. Consecutively, signal transduction within the cells is sabotaged, resulting in disruption of proliferation, migration, invasion and angiogenesis. In addition to VEGF, there are other growth factors that regulate angiogenesis.
In 1984 a protein ( HGF = "hepatocyte growth factor") was detected for the first time, which is ubiquitously expressed by mesenchymal cells. It was given the name HGF because it was originally identified as a hepatically produced mitogen.
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- Bussolini F et al (1992) Hepatocyte growth factor is a potent angiongenic factor which stimulates endothelial cell motility and growth. J Cell Biol 119: 629-641
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