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J Intern Med. 2004 May;255(5):538-61.

Manipulating angiogenesis in medicine.

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Center for Transgene Technology and Gene Therapy, Flanders Interuniversitary Institute for Biotechnology, KU Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Blood vessels nourish organs with vital nutrients and oxygen and, thus, new vessels form when the embryo needs to grow or wounds are to heal. However, forming new blood vessels is a complex and delicate process, which, unfortunately, is often derailed. Thus, when insufficient vessels form, the tissue becomes ischaemic and stops to function adequately. Conversely, when vessels grow excessively, malignant and inflamed tissues grow faster. It is now becoming increasingly evident that abnormal vessel growth contributes to the pathogenesis of numerous malignant, ischaemic, inflammatory, infectious and immune disorders. With an in-depth molecular understanding, we should be better armamented to combat such angiogenic disorders in the future. That such therapeutic strategies might change the face of medicine is witnessed by initial evidence of success in the clinic.

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