Study Shows How A Group of Tumor Cells Prevent Cancer Spread

Bonnie Prescott
bidmc.org

BOSTON – A new study finds that a group of little-explored cells in the tumor microenvironment likely serve as important gatekeepers against cancer progression and metastasis. Published in the January 17 issue of Cancer Cell, these findings suggest that anti-angiogenic therapies – which shrink cancer by cutting off tumors’ blood supply – may be inadvertently making tumors more aggressive and likely to spread.

One approach to treating cancer targets angiogenesis, or blood vessel growth. In this new investigation, senior author Raghu Kalluri, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Matrix Biology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS), wanted to find out if targeting a specific cell type, the pericyte, could inhibit tumor growth in the same way that other antiangiogenic drugs do. Pericytes are an important part of tissue vasculature, covering blood vessels and supporting their growth.

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