News / Health

Scientists Discover How to Grow New Blood Vessels

Jessica Berman
Scientists have discovered how heart disease patients with dangerously blocked arteries are able to grow new blood vessels to by-pass the blockage, and keep oxygen-rich blood flowing through their bodies. The discovery is raising the possibility of new treatments for cardiac patients.  

In people with heart disease, it is not uncommon for new blood vessels to grow around blocked arteries in order to keep essential, oxygenated blood coursing through the body. But those emergency blood vessels don’t grow in everyone with coronary artery disease.

Researchers have been working for more than a decade trying to coax new blood vessel formation, or angiogenesis, using human growth factors, specific enzymes and hormones that promote cellular growth.

But Michael Simons, a cell biologist and head of cardiovascular research at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, says scientists found that growth factors only went so far in stimulating new blood vessel growth.

“They do that in normal animals and in normal people.  But they did not work in people with advanced illnesses, and we never understood why," said Simons.

Simons and colleagues took a step back, looking at factors that cause blood vessels to form during fetal development, to try to determine why that process often doesn't occur in people with advanced heart disease.
 
When organs are damaged because of a lack of blood flow, Simons explains, they release a repair molecule called VEGFR.  Another molecule called NRP1 binds to that protein, and transports it, along with a second repair protein called VEGFR2, to the inside of blood vessels, stimulating the healing process.

But in experiments with mice, researchers discovered repair doesn't take place, or is poorly executed, in rodents bred to have damaged NRP1. Simons says angiogenesis is hampered because the molecules can't enter damaged blood vessels.

Simons believes heart patients whose bodies do not repair and grow new arteries to bypass damaged blood vessels also have impaired NRP1.  

“So, now that we understand how this works, you can now begin designing therapies that will specifically stimulate this pathway where you need it if you want to grow arteries.  On the other hand, if your goal is to inhibit the growth of blood vessels, you could do this of course in reverse," he said.

Reversing blood vessel formation would choke off and destroy cancerous tumors, which require an arterial blood supply to grow and spread.

An article by Yale University’s Michael Simons and colleagues on blood vessel formation is published in the journal Developmental Cell.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid