Anti-angiogenic therapy alone can suppress the growth of established tumors but it can also potentiate the effects of radiation and chemotherapy through unknown mechanisms. In September Nature Medicine Rakesh Jain from Harvard Medical School suggests that anti-angiogenic therapy can also 'normalize' tumor vasculature before its destruction and this mechanism could be exploited to improve the anti-tumor effects of radio- and chemotherapy (Nat Med 2001, 7:987-989).

Jain observed that the tumor vasculature is made up of a network of highly disorganized and abnormal blood vessels, which creates an obstacle for cancer treatments. But some anti-angiogenic therapies, such as blocking the vascular endothelial growth factor or its receptor (VEGFR2) induce epithelial cell apoptosis and produce a sort of circulation 'normalization' through elimination excess endothelial cells. This makes can make the immature tumor vessels more efficient before they destroy them.

Finding new imaging techniques and surrogate markers that permit quantification of...

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