Double Drug Combo Could Shut Down Abnormal Blood Vessel Growth that Feeds Disease
Posted Sep 17 2012 9:42pm
A new study by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College shows combining two already-FDA approved drugs may offer a new and potent punch against diseases in which blood vessel growth is abnormal — such as cancer, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis.
Their study, published in the Sept. 11 issue of the journal Developmental Cell, is the first to show that a protein, sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1P1), is a key player in angiogenesis — the growth process of new blood vessels in the body from pre-existing vessels. S1P1, previously known to modulate immune system function, is the target of the approved drug fingolimod used to treat the autoimmune neurological disease multiple sclerosis.
Researchers have discovered that S1P1 works hand-in-hand with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which stimulates blood vessel growth. VEGF is the target of a number of different cancer drugs that have not proven to be as effective as originally envisioned in shutting down the excess blood vessels that provide nutrients to growing tumors and other diseases that rely on extra blood supply.