Serious Infections Can Guard Against Tumor Growth By Inhibiting
The Development Of Blood Vessels, Study Finds
Serious infections can retard and even halt the
growth of tumors in mammals by blocking the formation of blood
vessels that nourish those tumors, researchers at the University
of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine have found.
finding, reported in the Cutting Edge section of the May 15 issue
of the Journal of Immunology, offers researchers an important
new lead on ways to block angiogenesis, the growth of new small
arteries and veins.
"This finding suggests that infected animals could be a source
of new, extremely potent inhibitors of angiogenesis, the Holy
Grail of modern anti-cancer research," said lead author Andrei
Thomas-Tikhonenko, an assistant professor of pathology in Penn’s
The result also turns on its head decades of dogma among immunologists,
who had believed that when the cells of the immune system were
mobilized against life-threatening infections, tumors also fell
victim to this fortification of the body’s defenses. Now, Thomas-Tikhonenko’s
work has shown that during infection tumors don’t grow even in
animals with severely weakened immune systems.
that it’s the suppression of angiogenesis, not antigen-battling
lymphocytes and macrophages, that holds the key to this long-recognized
"This is a whole new way of looking at how cancer can be inhibited
in mammals," said John Hibbs, professor of internal medicine
and chief of the Infectious Disease Division at the University
of Utah, who has conducted research on infection-mediated suppression
of tumorigenesis. "For a number of years, immunologists have
regarded this process as a cytotoxic effect mediated by lymphocytes
and activated macrophages.
This work shows that infections also
inhibit tumors by a surprisingly different mechanism."
Thanks to ScienceDaily.
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