Facts & Figures

  • Blood vessels are comprised of cells called endothelial cells. The total surface area covered by these cells in an adult is 1000 m2 — roughly the size of a tennis court.
  • If all the blood vessels in the body were lined up end-to-end, they would form a line that could circle the earth twice.
  • Blood vessel cells do not normally grow in the healthy adult; they are normally inactive, or quiescent.
  • There are at least 20 different known angiogenic growth factors.
  • Five angiogenic growth factors are being tested in humans for growing new blood vessels to heal wounds and restore blood flow to the heart, limbs, and brain.
  • Angiogenic gene therapy is also being developed as a method to deliver angiogenic growth factors to the heart, limbs, and wounds.
  • There are at least 30 known natural angiogenesis inhibitors found in the body.
  • The first angiogenesis inhibitor molecule was discovered in 1975 by Dr. Judah Folkman and Dr. Henry Brem in a study of cartilage.
  • Angiogenesis inhibitors have been discovered from natural sources, including tree bark, fungi, shark muscle and cartilage, sea coral, green tea, and herbs (licorice, ginseng, cumin, garlic).
  • In total, more than 300 angiogenesis inhibitors have been discovered to date.
  • At least 184 million patients in Western nations could benefit from some form of antiangiogenic therapy.
  • At least 314 million patients in Western nations would benefit from some form of angiogenesis-stimulating (pro-angiogenic) therapy.
  • The first successful treatment of an angiogenesis-dependent disease occurred in 1989, when the drug interferon alfa2a, an angiogenesis inhibitor, was used to regress the abnormal blood vessels growing in the lungs of a boy with a benign disease called pulmonary hemangiomatosis.
  • Some cancer patients have experienced dramatic regression of their tumors from antiangiogenic therapy; others have experienced stabilization of their disease.
  • More than 2,000 patients with heart disease have received some form of experimental angiogenic therapy.
  • The first FDA-approved device to stimulate new blood vessels to grow in diseased hearts is a laser used in a technique called Direct Myocardial Revascularization, or DMR (sometimes called transmyocardial revascularization, TMR).
  • The first FDA-approved blood vessel therapy for eye disease is a type of photodynamic therapy called Visudyne (QLT Therapeutics/CibaVision), which has shown effectiveness for treating macular degeneration.
  • The first angiogenesis-stimulating medicine is a prescription gel called Regranex (recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-BB, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals) that became FDA-approved to heal diabetic foot ulcers in December 1997.
  • More than $4 billion has been invested in the research and development angiogenesis-based medicines, making this one of the most heavily funded areas of medical research in human history.

Folkman J. Tumor angiogenesis, in Harrision’s Texbook of Internal Medicine, 15th ed. Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, et al., eds. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, 2000 pp.132-152.

Li W. Tumor angiogenesis: molecular pathology, therapeutic targeting and imaging. Acad Radiol 2000;7:800-811.

Li WW, Li VW, Casey R, et al. Clinical trials of angiogenesis-based therapies: overview and new guiding principles, in Angiogenesis: Models, Modulators and Clinical Application. Maragoudakis M, ed. Plenum Press, New York, NY 1998, pp.475-492.

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.

Market Study and Analysis of Angiogensis-dependent Diseases. Cambridge: The Angiogenesis Foundation, Third Edition, 2001.

White CW, Sondheimer HM, Crouch EC, et al. Treatment of pulmonary hemangiomatosis with recombinant interferon alpha-2a. N Engl J Med 1992;326:1456-1463