The mechanism of gastroduodenal ulcer healing involves angiogenesis but the exact roles of molecules such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) in this process remain unclear. In November Gastroenterology, Michael Jones and colleagues from University of California, Irvine, California show that gene therapy with a single local injection of naked DNA encoding VEGF and angiopoietin-1 can accelerate ulcer healing.

Jones et al. induced ulcers in rats and then injected the site around the ulcer with plasmids encoding full-length cDNA of human recombinant (rh) VEGF165, rhAng1 or a combination of the two. They observed that VEGF and Ang1 gene therapy significantly increased neovascularization and accelerated ulcer healing. In addition, the inhibition of this effect by a neutralizing anti-VEGF antibody indicated that VEGF has an essential role in the ulcer healing mechanism (Gastroenterology 2001, 121:1040-1047).

If replicated in humans, these results open new...

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