Dr. Judah Folkman died after doing important research for 40 years on angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels.) He died, unexpectedly, on 14 Jan., 2008. His discoveries have changed our ideas about tumor treatment, tumor growth, and other diseases.
As a young surgeon, Dr. Folkman was interested in tumor growth and invented techniques whereby tumors could be more completely studied. He and coworkers discovered a soluble factor in tumors which stimulated new blood vessel growth. He developed a theory that tumors could be treated with the use of angiogenesis inhibitors. He spent the rest of his life developing this idea.
Very early it was shown that tumors could become dormant if the ability to grow new blood vessels could be blocked. Techniques for culturing capillary endothelium cells were developed. This came at a time when there started to be interest in using angiogenesis blockers to treat diabetic retinopathy, psoriasis, and arthritis.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was discovered. It is a natural chemical that stimulates new blood vessel growth. A number of VEGF blockers have been developed which can increase the survival in people receiving chemotherapy by up to 30%.
CONCLUSION: The development of angiogenesis inhibitors has revolutionized cancer therapy. In Dr. Folkman’s words, “It is possible that one day cancer might be treated as a chronic manageable disease, such as diabetes or heart disease.”
NOTE: Natural angiogenesis inhibitors include resveratrol, DIM, andrographis, milk thistle, arginine, green tea, St. John’s wort, omega-3 fatty acids, glycine, exercise, and low-fat, vegan diet. Angiogenesis inhibitors are being used to treat wet macular degeneration in which the growth of new blood vessels interferes with normal vision.
Read about asiatic acid and angiogenesis in glioma cells.