Aggressive Cancers May Make Own Blood Vessels.

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Until now, researchers widely assumed that tumors attracted nearby blood vessels to provide them with nutrition and pathways for tumor cells to spread throughout the body. This hypothesis, known as tumor angiogenesis, is the basis of intensive investigation and clinical trials worldwide.

However, a University of Iowa, Iowa City, research team reports that highly aggressive cancer cells themselves may generate their own vascular networks independent of angiogenesis. Because the researchers' discoveries call attention to an alternative pathway that is responsible for aggressive tumor growth and spread, the findings potentially could change the way cancers are regarded, diagnosed, and treated.

They found that, as human cancer cells progress toward more deadly forms, groups of aggressive cancer cells build primitive vascular channels. This proved true in both specially engineered cultures and human cancer specimens. That may explain why aggressive cancers do not respond to conventional chemotherapies or...

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