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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Mar 4;1654(1):39-49.

Molecular targeting of angiogenesis.

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Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Building 36 M14, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


The majority of pharmacological approaches for the treatment of solid tumors suffer from poor selectivity, thus limiting dose escalation (i.e., the doses of drug which are required to kill tumor cells cause unacceptable toxicities to normal tissues). The situation is made more dramatic by the fact that the majority of anticancer drugs accumulate preferentially in normal tissues rather than in neoplastic sites, due to the irregular vasculature and to the high interstitial pressure of solid tumors. One avenue towards the development of more efficacious and better tolerated anti-cancer drugs relies on the targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to the tumor environment, thus sparing normal tissues. Molecular markers which are selectively expressed in the stroma and in neo-vascular sites of aggressive solid tumors appear to be particularly suited for ligand-based tumor targeting strategies. Tumor blood vessels are accessible to agents coming from the bloodstream, and their occlusion may result in an avalanche of tumor cell death. Furthermore, endothelial cells and stromal cells are genetically more stable than tumor cells and can produce abundant markers, which are ideally suited for tumor targeting strategies. This review focuses on recent advances in the development of ligands for the selective targeting of tumor blood vessels and new blood vessels in other angiogenesis-related diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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