Cutting off ovarian cancer blood vessels improves chemo delivery

Cutting off the blood supply to a tumor is one way to stop it from growing and ultimately cause the tumor to die. An added benefit is that the proliferation of healthy blood vessels around a shrunken tumor leads to better delivery of anticancer drugs.

To that end, researchers at Canada's University of Guelph in Ontario have developed a method for cutting off the protein in cancer cells that is needed for them to create new blood vessels. By hindering the process of angiogenesis in cancer cells, the team also improved drug delivery--by cutting out the abnormal blood vessels, they shrank the tumor and allowed more healthy blood supply to the tumor, allowing for more drugs to reach it.

In mice with ovarian cancer, the scientists used a portion of the protein inhibitor thrombospondin-1, which affects the protein called CD36, and found that combining the inhibitor with low-dose chemotherapy resulted in the most significant tumor regression and survival, according to a release.

And the regression of the tumor, in particular, led to improved delivery of the chemotherapy, a feedback loop that marked faster utility of the treatment.

"We hope that this study will lead to novel treatment approaches for women diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer," said Jim Petrik, a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. "The use of anti-angiogenic therapy, combined with metronomic chemotherapy, has the potential to significantly improve our ability to treat advanced stage ovarian cancer while simultaneously reducing the treatment effects for women diagnosed with this disease."

- here's the release