Medicine: Block a Protein, Starve a Tumor

Scientists reproduce a growth signal for capillaries

When a malignant tumor sets up camp somewhere in the human body, it requires a generous supply of blood in order to survive and grow. Cancer cells secure this supply by somehow encouraging angiogenesis, the proliferation of networks of tiny capillaries, which connect the incipient tumor to nearby arteries and veins. But what are the signals that entice the blood vessels to leave their established pathways and converge on a tumor? Scientists have sought the answer to that question for years. If such signals could be blocked, they reasoned, the tumor would no longer grow.

At Harvard Medical School last week,...

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