It's way too early in the game to start touting this as a "cancer killer"† but researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have discovered a protein that slows the development of new blood vessels and in turn may slow the growth of cancerous tumors.
A family of proteins called vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) is behind angiogenesis. One protein, called VEGF-A, is the principal driver of the process.
The variant is named VEGF-Ax.
Stopping the growth of new blood vessels cuts off the supply of blood to a cancerous tumor, which needs those items in the blood to survive, expand and travel to other parts of the body. Because tumors cannot grow beyond a certain size or spread without a blood supply, scientists are trying to find ways to block tumor angiogenesis, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The discovery will open new avenues of angiogenesis and cancer research, Fox says, and could potentially lead to new diagnostic tools and improved treatments to reduce the spread of cancer.
“It is truly remarkable that a small change in a protein sequence leads not just to a protein with a different function, but one with a function completely opposite to the original. In the context of cancer, the small extension changes a very ‘bad’ protein into a very ‘good’ one."
View the full post HERE.
† - Apologies for the clickbait headline =)