Angiogenesis in Disease

Angiogenesis in Disease: The Big Picture

Angiogenesis in Disease

In many serious disease states, angiogenesis is dysregulated. Angiogenesis-dependent diseases result when new blood vessels either grow excessively or insufficiently.

Excessive angiogenesis:

  • Occurs in diseases such as cancer, diabetic blindness, age-related macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and more than 70 other conditions.
  • Occurs when diseased cells and tissue produce abnormal amounts of angiogenic growth factors, overwhelming the effects of natural angiogenesis inhibitors.
  • In these conditions, new blood vessels grow and feed diseased tissues; the new vessels are abnormal and leaky and can destroy normal tissues. In the case of cancer, the abnormal vessels allow tumor cells to escape into the circulation and lodge in other organs (tumor metastases).
  • Antiangiogenic therapies, aimed at halting new blood vessel growth, are used to treat these conditions.

Insufficient angiogenesis:

  • Occurs in diseases such as coronary artery disease, stroke, and chronic wounds.
  • In these conditions, blood vessel growth is inadequate, and circulation is not properly restored, leading to the risk of tissue death.
  • Insufficient angiogenesis occurs when tissues do not produce adequate amounts of angiogenic growth factors.
  • Therapeutic angiogenesis therapies, aimed at stimulating new blood vessel growth with growth factors, are being developed to treat these conditions.

Angiogenesis is a disease common denominator

Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, is a “common denominator” shared by diseases affecting more than one billion people worldwide. This includes all cancers, cardiovascular disease, blindness, arthritis, complications of AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 70 other major health conditions affecting children and adults in developed and developing nations. Our vision is that angiogenesis-based therapies are a unifying approach to disease and will have the same impact in the 21st century that antibiotics had in the 20th century.


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Li WW, Li VW and Tsakayannis D. Emerging concepts and lessons from clinical trials of angiotherapy. The New Angiotherapy (TP Fan and EC Kohn, Editors) Humana Press, 2001, p. 547-571.