The role of angiogenesis in cancer
Angiogenesis is the term coined to define the process of new blood vessel formation and has been the subject of intense scientific interest since the discovery of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in 1989. It is necessary for the growth of the organism, tissue repair and reproductive function. However, pathological angiogenesis is now recognised as an essential feature of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic retinopathy and malignant neoplasia. The development of small molecule inhibitors of this process is regarded as an important therapeutic area in the treatment of human cancers and offers potentially long-term treatment, with significantly fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapeutic treatment regimes.