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Cancer Res. 2012 Dec 1;72(23):6089-96. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-2773. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

Engineering approaches for investigating tumor angiogenesis: exploiting the role of the extracellular matrix.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences-Oncology Center and the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


A major paradigm shift in cancer research is the emergence of multidisciplinary approaches to investigate complex cell behaviors, to elucidate regulatory mechanisms and to identify therapeutic targets. Recently, efforts are focused on the engineering of complex in vitro models, which more accurately recapitulate the growth and progression of cancer. These strategies have proven vital for investigating and targeting the events that control tumor angiogenesis. In this review, we explore how the emerging engineering approaches are being used to unlock the complex mechanisms regulating tumor angiogenesis. Emphasis is placed on models using natural and synthetic biomaterials to generate scaffolds mimicking the extracellular matrix, which is known to play a critical role in angiogenesis. While the models presented in this review are revolutionary, improvements are still necessary and concepts for advancing and perfecting engineering approaches for modeling tumor angiogenesis are proposed. Overall, the marriage between disparate scientific fields is expected to yield significant improvements in our understanding and treatment of cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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