Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cancer 101

We'll start out with a few definitions:
Integrin-cell surface proteins which interact with the extracellular matrix
Angiogenesis-the branching and growth of new blood vessels by growth of new branches.
CXC chemokine-small proteins (CXCL4 has 70 residues) which play a role in chemotaxis
Specific proteins to know:

αvβ3-vitronectin receptor

α5β1-fibronectin receptor; also plays a role in angiogenesis

CXCL4-an αvβ3 antagonist found in platelets and plays a role in neutralizing heparin like molecules thereby enhancing coagulation

Now for some basics on cancer.

As tumors grow, they require more and more nutrients to feed the mass of cells. To accomplish this, they rely upon angiogenic factors to trigger growth of new blood vessels bringing oxygen and nutrients. Metastasis is one way tumors spread. This involves the migration of a cancerous cell into the blood stream and moving to another location and invading the surrounding tissue further downstream by use of integrin proteins. By stopping cancer from producing blood vessels and spreading, we can isolate tumors to very small masses in isolated locations making them far easier to treat with very specific radiation levels in very specific locations.

But first, we must prevent metastasis and angiogenesis. I'll cover that next time.

Part 2
Part 3

1 comment:

Paul said...

Hi Jared! I like your blog. It's a good read on subjects of interest to me. If you don't mind, I'm taking the liberty of linking to it.


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