Close interaction seen between blood vessel development and fat tissue formation

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Study findings may help fight cancer and obesity, grow new organs

Findings from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital could eventually help to solve problems ranging from cancer, to obesity, to the development of replacement organs. The findings involve the key physiological processes of angiogenesis, the growth of new blood cells, and adipogenesis, the development and growth of fat cells, which appear to be so closely interwoven that interfering with one process also halts the other. Better understanding of the interaction between angiogenesis and adipogenesis and the development of ways to control and direct the processes could have a wide range of medical applications. Anti-angiogenesis compounds are already being evaluated as cancer-fighters, and the current results suggest they may be useful in combating obesity as well. The observation that blood vessels growing in response to adipogenesis form organized networks – in contrast to the inefficient networks that develop in and around tumors – might help with efforts to grow new organs and tissues, since the development of a circulatory system is a key challenge in the field of tissue engineering. The study was scheduled to be printed in the Oct. 31, 2003 issue of Circulation Research. It was published via the journal’s website on Oct. 2.