Angiogenesis, or formation of new blood vessels from other pre-existing vessels, is essential for the tumour growth, progression and the subsequent appearance of metastases in other organs. For all these reasons, in recent years, the anti-angiogenic therapies have been a point of intense research in developing new cancer treatments. More than 50 pharmacological inhibitors of angiogenesis are currently at different points of its clinical development. Most of the targets for these compounds are different factors that induce angiogenesis. One of the most important is the specific vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which stimulates the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells and the formation of new blood vessels. In fact, the first selective inhibitor of angiogenesis that has been approved for use in patients is bevacizumab (Avastin), a neutralizing antibody against VEGF. Other angiogenic factors such as TGF-beta or angiopoietins not induce proliferation of the endothelium but its stabilization.
Key points of interest in this field are the identification of new molecular targets of the angiogenic cascade, as well as the determination of the specific effect of anti-angiogenic molecules in different tumour models. On the other hand, it has shown that anti-angiogenic therapies are most effective when they are administered in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It is therefore important to know what combinations, regimens and administration dosage are the most effective, as well as to identify biomarkers that can help assess the effectiveness of anti-angiogenic treatments.
Finally, despite being more difficult than the endothelial cells develop drug resistance due to its high genetic stability, after some time of treatment is just creating resistance to the anti-angiogenic therapies. Understanding the mechanisms involved in this resistance will help to prevent them or seek alternative therapies.
In order to answer some of these questions, our group of tumour angiogenesis from IDIBELL tries to make the environmental research that we have in our institution, combining the knowledge of researchers with the basic training to clinical, leading research projects and promoting the generation of new joint projects.
The group consists of five research lines or independent subgroups, each leaded by a researcher:
Subgroup Angiogenic Factors. PI: Francisco Viñals
Subgroup Resistance to Anti-angiogenic therapies and malignant cancer. IP: Oriol Casanovas
Subgroup "Metronomic Administration of chemotherapeutic agents as anti-angiogenic therapy. PI: Berta Laquente
Subgroup "Research of noninvasive biomarkers in clinical trials with anti-angiogenic. PI: Margarita García
Subgroup Signaling pathways in angiogenesis. PI: Mariona Graupera