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Methylation signaling controls cancer growth

Date:
November 28, 2013
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
A study demonstrates a new mechanism involving a signaling protein and its receptor that may block the formation of new blood vessels and cancer growth.

A study led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) demonstrates a new mechanism involving a signaling protein and its receptor that may block the formation of new blood vessels and cancer growth. The findings are published in the December issue of Science Signaling.

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Angiogenesis creates new blood vessels in a process that can lead to the onset and progression of several diseases such as cancer and age-related macular degeneration.

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a signaling protein produced by damaged cells, which binds to one of its receptors VEGFR-2, located on the surface of blood vessel cells. Once VEGF is bound to its receptor, it is activated and sends a biochemical signal to the inside of the blood vessel cell to initiate angiogenesis. There are currently multiple Federal Drug Administration-approved medications that target this process. However these medications are limited by insufficient efficacy and the development of resistance.

The researchers demonstrated that a biochemical process called methylation, which can regulate gene expression, also affects VEGFR-2, and this can lead to angiogenesis. Using multiple methods, the researchers were able to interfere with the methylation process of VEGFR-2 and subsequently block angiogenesis and tumor growth.

"The study points to the methylation of VEGFR-2 as an exciting, yet unexplored drug target for cancer and ocular angiogenesis, ushering in a new paradigm in anti-angiogenesis therapy," said Nader Rahimi, PhD, associate professor of pathology, BUSM, who served as the study's senior investigator.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Methylation signaling controls cancer growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131128141410.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2013, November 28). Methylation signaling controls cancer growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131128141410.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Methylation signaling controls cancer growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131128141410.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

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