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Angiogenesis inhibitor

Angiogenesis is the medical term for the production of new blood vessels (from Greek angeion, a vessel), so an angiogenesis inhibitor is one that stops them forming. They’ve been studied in the laboratory for many years in the hope that one will be found that chokes off the blood supply to cancers in the body and so makes them shrink. A great advantage of such drugs is that they are likely to be much less toxic than the existing chemotherapy agents. The first drug to treat a cancer by this means has recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is now suggested that they might also be useful in treating obesity, since the stores of fat in the body are served by active blood supplies. However, fears have been expressed that they might damage immune reactions in the body and they are a long way from being a practical therapy for this purpose.

The irony, says Li, is that many of us already take angiogenesis inhibitors every day without even knowing it, and they could be protecting us from cancer and keeping us thin into the bargain. A long list of dietary factors strongly inhibit blood vessel growth, among them resveratrol in red wine, as well as genistein in soya, catechins in green tea and brassinin in Chinese cabbage.

New Scientist, 10 Apr. 2004

Novartis ... Bayer, and Pfizer are among the big companies with angiogenesis inhibitors in final testing for colon, kidney, and gastrointestinal cancers, among others.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, 26 Feb. 2004

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 8 May 2004

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

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Last modified: 8 May 2004.