Restricting Tumour Growth (1)

A gene to limit tumour size
Winter 2014

£55,104 to the School of Biological Sciences at UEA for a 1 year project to study tumour blood supply.

Solid tumours need a blood supply to be able to grow. Without it they are limited to about 2mm in size, or cells at the centre of the tumour begin to die from oxygen starvation. The formation of a new blood supply, a process known as angiogenesis, can also help cancer spread to new sites in the body; the new blood vessels are usually leaky, giving the cancer cells access to the body’s circulation. This role means that angiogenesis is a good target for drugs designed to limit cancer growth.

The research group have previously identified a gene linked to breast cancer survival called ADAMTS15; women with breast cancer who had the gene “switched off” had poorer long term survival than those in whom the gene was more active. The gene is known to have functions linked to tumour reduction, one of which involves suppressing blood supply formation. This project aims to understand how ADAMTS15 reduces angiogenesis, with the hope that ways can be found to mimic its effects in those women whose tumours have deactivated the gene.

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