Angiogenesis and Metastasis

 The Role of Angiogenesis Inhibitors In Integrative Cancer Care
Cancer patients always have a fear that their cancer may become metastatic. If it becomes metastatic it becomes a problem to treat and may cause lots of damage to the healthy cells in the patient’s body. Metastastasis however cannot happen without angiogenesis. Therefore if the cancer doctors find a way of avoiding angiogenesis then it can be easier to avoid metastatic cancer. One of the known characteristics of cancerous cells is that they divide rapidly and their growth is uncontrolled, this is a major challenge as the danger increases with how well they are well spread in the body. The best way to control the spread of cancer is to control angiogenesis by the aid of angiogenesis inhibitors.

What is angiogenesis?

Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels. This is a natural process that occurs majorly during growth and development of children. The mother’s womb has to form new blood vessels that are important in the development of the infant. This is a crucial process and is known as vascologeneis. However this process happens less often in adults and may happen during wound healing. In women it happens during the menstruation cycle. When this formation of new blood vessels is induced by tumor, it is referred to as tumor angiogenesis. This happens when the tumors release molecules that signal the surrounding tissues. It is this signaling that activates genes that make proteins to initiate growth of new blood vessels. These new blood vessels penetrate into the cancerous cells and help them grow by supplying them with the needed nutrients and removing wastes out of them hence creating an environment that favors their growth and metastasis.

For tumors to grow and metastasize, angiogenesis is a necessity without which the cancerous cells will become inactive and may even die. The network of newly formed blood vessels become very dangerous to the cancer patient as they enhance the growth of the cancerous cells, spreading to other parts of the body and inflicting pain. For this situation to be controlled there is need to cut the nutrient and oxygen supply to these cancerous cells.

Being that cancer cells depend on angiogenesis to grow and metastasize, cancer  therapies that target  angiogenesis can potentially help in treating cancer. Angiogenesis is necessary for growth and metastasis of all cancer cells irrespective of the type of cancer. Cancer treatments that target angiogenesis will definitely aid in treatment of all cancers. The basis of therapies that target angiogenesis is that if angiogenesis can be stopped then the cancerous cells will be killed as they will not access the necessary supplies hence will starve to death.

Copper and Angiogenesis

Copper is a trace element the needs to highly regulated as any slight homeostatic copper disruptions may result in serious health complications such as the Wilson’s disease. Copper is also known to be necessary for angiogenesis. Without copper angiogenesis cannot take place. Copper therefore fuels cancer tumor growth and metastasis. Anti-angiogenic therapies can be used to curb this situation. tetrathiomolybdate (TM) is effective in copper chelation.  Researchers have proved that TM forms a stable tripartite complex with copper and protein. If given with food, it chelates food copper with food protein and prevents absorption of copper in the bloodstream. There is endogenous secretion of copper in saliva and gastric secretions associated with food intake, and this copper is also chelated by TM when it is taken with meals, thereby preventing copper re-absorption.

Researchers have tested the effects of the tetrathiomolybdate (TM) on mice that were injected with cancer cells and left for a week for angiogenesis to begin. After the new blood vessels had been formed the mice was injected tetrathiomolybdate (TM). The angiogenesis stopped and the tumor growth stopped. Tetrathiomolybdate (TM) is targeted by many researchers who want to verify if it can be used as a cancer treatment. However from researches that had been done in the past it was concluded that tetrathiomolybdate (TM) has a unique action on the copper that fuels angiogenesis and retarded tumor growth with little side effects. If cancer patients are given TM with food their copper balance become negative which does not support angiogenesis. The copper that is bound by TM cannot do any meaningful biological activity as it cannot be absorbed by cells and is excreted in the urine having been cleared by bile.

Typically the level of cancer that is needed for angiogenesis is much higher as compared to the amount of copper that is needed for cellular activities that are dependent on cancer like cytochrome function and heme synthesis. Cancer therapy that are based on anti-copper may work well as the copper needed for cellular activities will be retained even when TM is used to as an anti-copper angiogenic agent.

Low molecular weight heparins

Researchers have also found out that Low molecular weight heparins helps in improving the cancer patient’s chances of survival as it inhibits metastasis. The low molecular weight heparins are said to curb metastasis by preventing cancer cell triggered destruction of the endothelial glycocalyx. In experimental animal models and clinical tests; it was found that the low molecular weight heparins protects against cancer progression and metastasis. This is said by the scientists is possible as the low molecular weight inhibits metastasis interfering with the cancer cell binding on the platelets. Cancer cell needs to attach themselves to the platelets to move to other parts of the body. Low molecular weight heparins also inhibit metastasis through binding of heparanase or hyaluronidase thereby protecting the vascular endothelium from invasion by the cancer cells.

Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert in integrative cancer treatment and can avail you the best advice to help you cure or better yet prevent cancer. You can always call her for consultations.

 The Role of Angiogenesis Inhibitors In Integrative Cancer Care