In prostate cancer, where there's tumor growth, there's angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels. Angiogenesis is controlled by certain chemicals naturally produced in the body, and typically helps to heal wounds; however, the creation of new blood vessels can also produce oxygen and nutrients cancer cells need to grow, invade surrounding tissues, and metastasize.
Angiogenesis inhibitors are chemicals that work to interfere with the signals that form these new blood vessels, thereby preventing cancer cells from growing. Case studies on antiangiogenic therapy have shown that these natural angiogenesis inhibitors have caused cancer cells to shrink or disappear completelyi.
Clinical Trials for Angiogenesis Inhibitors
Studies have shown that thalidomide and bevacizumab act as promising angiogenesis inhibitors, and could be used as a form of cancer treatment for a variety of tumors, including prostate cancerii. Of course more studies are underway to find alternate angiogenesis inhibiting agents.
Dr. Jennifer Doll has been researching angiogenesis inhibitors at North Shore University HealthSystem, and she found an association between inhibitors of blood vessel growth and fat metabolism. "Analysis of human prostate cancer specimens showed that fat droplets are present not only in adipose tissue but also in prostate cancer cells and that their occurrence increases with prostate cancer gradeiii." Since Dr. Doll's study found that changes in the level of angiogenesis inhibitors impact lipid metabolism and cancer cell growth, her team at Yale University was prompted to develop a "time-released nanotherapy" to deliver an inhibitor that alters lipid metabolism in order to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.
As with all prostate cancer treatments, be sure to talk to your doctor about the right options for you. Angiogenesis inhibitors are still in the clinical trial phase, but these positive results may lead to an approved alternative treatment for those with prostate cancer.