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Maarten

Vascular System Biology and Cancer

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Sounds nice :lol: What are you studying?

I am not starting until next fall, but my area of interest is angiogenesis, and more general vascular system biology. I found some really cool research being done in that field, so I am leaning towards that as a potential thesis subject further down the road. In particular, the role of angiogenesis in cancer progression is very fascinating to me, and now I've learned about an amazing new discovery that has captured my interest: the collateral blood system.

They only really discovered it a few years ago, and the significance of it is only just being understood now. Traditionally, the blood vessels are organized in such a way that blood flows from the heart, through arteries, towards the veins (through a network of capillaries). Basically, the collateral system is a system of blood vessels that connect arteries to arteries. You could think of arteries as trees with many branches, and the collateral system would basically be a connecting set of branches that tied both trees together. This means that if one of the trunks ever dies, the other tree could potentially supply both branch systems with nutrients and oxygen. In other words, if you get a bloodclot that would normally cause a heart attack or stroke, these connecting blood vessels would mitigate the damage by allowing blood to flow around the obstruction.

The amount of these collateral vessels that people have seems to vary widely, but it is a very small number for anyone compared to the total number of vessels in our body. One of the professors I met last week basically studies how these collateral vessels develop so we can get more understanding of why certain people have more than others, and perhaps figure out how we can use that knowledge to protect people from thrombotic events.

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Marten, It sounds like you have found a subject that interest you very much, congratulations. I first learned about angiogenesis when reading about Dr. Judah Folkman and his research. I, like you, found it a very interesting subject.

Jordan, now you might understand why I left school behind and never looked back with regret.

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Marten, It sounds like you have found a subject that interest you very much, congratulations. I first learned about angiogenesis when reading about Dr. Judah Folkman and his research. I, like you, found it a very interesting subject.

Jordan, now you might understand why I left school behind and never looked back with regret.

I know. Did you by any chance read the biographical book about his life and research? I think it was called something like: Dr. Folkman's war: angiogenesis and the struggle to defeat cancer. It was very inspiring to me. He had some flaws in that he was quite altruistic (it seemed) in his personal life, but the man was a great scientist. Going against mainstream science for almost 30 years and holding your own conclusions to be sacred is so important, and you rarely see it.

Also, it is sad to think about how free scientific research used to be when he started his career. All those regulations about animal research, for example, have cost us so many advances...

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Maarten, I did read the book on Dr. Folkman and agree with you that it was inspiring for many reasons.

I also agree with your statements on scientific research, regulations and the many more things that have crept into those areas and either slowed down progress or (for now) closed them down.

I look forward to reading about your goals and achievements as they come.

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Sounds nice :lol: What are you studying?

I am not starting until next fall, but my area of interest is angiogenesis, and more general vascular system biology. I found some really cool research being done in that field, so I am leaning towards that as a potential thesis subject further down the road. In particular, the role of angiogenesis in cancer progression is very fascinating to me, and now I've learned about an amazing new discovery that has captured my interest: the collateral blood system.

They only really discovered it a few years ago, and the significance of it is only just being understood now. Traditionally, the blood vessels are organized in such a way that blood flows from the heart, through arteries, towards the veins (through a network of capillaries). Basically, the collateral system is a system of blood vessels that connect arteries to arteries. You could think of arteries as trees with many branches, and the collateral system would basically be a connecting set of branches that tied both trees together. This means that if one of the trunks ever dies, the other tree could potentially supply both branch systems with nutrients and oxygen. In other words, if you get a bloodclot that would normally cause a heart attack or stroke, these connecting blood vessels would mitigate the damage by allowing blood to flow around the obstruction.

The amount of these collateral vessels that people have seems to vary widely, but it is a very small number for anyone compared to the total number of vessels in our body. One of the professors I met last week basically studies how these collateral vessels develop so we can get more understanding of why certain people have more than others, and perhaps figure out how we can use that knowledge to protect people from thrombotic events.

You left me in the dust on a lot of that but it sounds really interesting! Stay motivated and keep up the good studying.

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Marten, It sounds like you have found a subject that interest you very much, congratulations. I first learned about angiogenesis when reading about Dr. Judah Folkman and his research. I, like you, found it a very interesting subject.

Jordan, now you might understand why I left school behind and never looked back with regret.

I know. Did you by any chance read the biographical book about his life and research? I think it was called something like: Dr. Folkman's war: angiogenesis and the struggle to defeat cancer. It was very inspiring to me. He had some flaws in that he was quite altruistic (it seemed) in his personal life, but the man was a great scientist. Going against mainstream science for almost 30 years and holding your own conclusions to be sacred is so important, and you rarely see it.

Also, it is sad to think about how free scientific research used to be when he started his career. All those regulations about animal research, for example, have cost us so many advances...

Maarten I believe I've heard of the research you speak of, but isn't the real solution to cancer being able to target a specific cell and kill it, without affecting other cells? I'm not sure how blood flow solves that. One thing that looks very promising to me is Myc inhibitors. Ever heard of them?

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The amount of these collateral vessels that people have seems to vary widely, but it is a very small number for anyone compared to the total number of vessels in our body. One of the professors I met last week basically studies how these collateral vessels develop so we can get more understanding of why certain people have more than others, and perhaps figure out how we can use that knowledge to protect people from thrombotic events.

Wow, this sounds interesting. I always thought of the vascular system as aorta -> arteries -> aterioles -> capillaries -> venoles -> veins -> vena cava. I had no idea that arteries could join to other arteries.

Shows how much I know. :lol:

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The amount of these collateral vessels that people have seems to vary widely, but it is a very small number for anyone compared to the total number of vessels in our body. One of the professors I met last week basically studies how these collateral vessels develop so we can get more understanding of why certain people have more than others, and perhaps figure out how we can use that knowledge to protect people from thrombotic events.

Wow, this sounds interesting. I always thought of the vascular system as aorta -> arteries -> aterioles -> capillaries -> venoles -> veins -> vena cava. I had no idea that arteries could join to other arteries.

Shows how much I know. :lol:

Exactly. That's the way the normal blood system works, but this is a (rare) exception that basically gives arteries a backup supply in case one of the main branches ever gets blocked. It is really quite ingenious :D One example from the fifties was a guy who died in a car accident. His heart was taken out after his death, and the physician was amazed that he hadn't had any heart problems, because there were major obstructions in his heart's arteries that would have killed anyone else. But he was perfectly fine, because of several connecting branches that allowed blood flow to continue =)

As for the angiogenesis, let me get back to that later today :D

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Marten, It sounds like you have found a subject that interest you very much, congratulations. I first learned about angiogenesis when reading about Dr. Judah Folkman and his research. I, like you, found it a very interesting subject.

Jordan, now you might understand why I left school behind and never looked back with regret.

I know. Did you by any chance read the biographical book about his life and research? I think it was called something like: Dr. Folkman's war: angiogenesis and the struggle to defeat cancer. It was very inspiring to me. He had some flaws in that he was quite altruistic (it seemed) in his personal life, but the man was a great scientist. Going against mainstream science for almost 30 years and holding your own conclusions to be sacred is so important, and you rarely see it.

Also, it is sad to think about how free scientific research used to be when he started his career. All those regulations about animal research, for example, have cost us so many advances...

Maarten I believe I've heard of the research you speak of, but isn't the real solution to cancer being able to target a specific cell and kill it, without affecting other cells? I'm not sure how blood flow solves that. One thing that looks very promising to me is Myc inhibitors. Ever heard of them?

If I remember correctly, the way that anti-angiogenesis works is by stopping the cancer cell from being able to create angiogenesis, that is the birth of new blood vessels that bring nutrients to the cancer. The anti-angiogenesis drug puts a barrier around the cancer cell so that it can not release an enzyme that causes angiogenesis nor can the cancer cell receive nutrieints which causes the cell to basically starve. So, no blood flow, no nutrients, no cancer cell.

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Marten, It sounds like you have found a subject that interest you very much, congratulations. I first learned about angiogenesis when reading about Dr. Judah Folkman and his research. I, like you, found it a very interesting subject.

Jordan, now you might understand why I left school behind and never looked back with regret.

I know. Did you by any chance read the biographical book about his life and research? I think it was called something like: Dr. Folkman's war: angiogenesis and the struggle to defeat cancer. It was very inspiring to me. He had some flaws in that he was quite altruistic (it seemed) in his personal life, but the man was a great scientist. Going against mainstream science for almost 30 years and holding your own conclusions to be sacred is so important, and you rarely see it.

Also, it is sad to think about how free scientific research used to be when he started his career. All those regulations about animal research, for example, have cost us so many advances...

Maarten I believe I've heard of the research you speak of, but isn't the real solution to cancer being able to target a specific cell and kill it, without affecting other cells? I'm not sure how blood flow solves that. One thing that looks very promising to me is Myc inhibitors. Ever heard of them?

If I remember correctly, the way that anti-angiogenesis works is by stopping the cancer cell from being able to create angiogenesis, that is the birth of new blood vessels that bring nutrients to the cancer. The anti-angiogenesis drug puts a barrier around the cancer cell so that it can not release an enzyme that causes angiogenesis nor can the cancer cell receive nutrieints which causes the cell to basically starve. So, no blood flow, no nutrients, no cancer cell.

I see. Thanks for the feedback. I'm wondering if it affects all cells in the same way. If so, there are libel to be bad side affects, I would think.

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Maarten I believe I've heard of the research you speak of, but isn't the real solution to cancer being able to target a specific cell and kill it, without affecting other cells? I'm not sure how blood flow solves that. One thing that looks very promising to me is Myc inhibitors. Ever heard of them?

Grammatical correction to the first sentence:

Maarten, I believe I've heard of the research you speak of, but isn't the real solution to cancer being able to target a specific cell and killing it without affecting other cells?

My apologies for the errors.

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I see. Thanks for the feedback. I'm wondering if it affects all cells in the same way. If so, there are libel to be bad side affects, I would think.

Well, it is somewhat more complicated in humans than in the animals used to test the drugs on initially. But the basic premise is that there is very little blood vessel growth going on in a healthy individual. All the blood vessels in your body have already grown to completion and have supporting tissue, so they're not really affected. Pretty much the only time you get blood vessel growth is in response to injury, and that doesn't happen that often. So the side effects are theoretically fairly limited, especially because the doses tend to be low and continuous instead of giving a lot at once every week or two (like most traditional chemotherapy drugs).

They are highly lethal to developing fetuses, so you can't use them when you're pregnant. One infamous compound that has anti-angiogenic purposes is thalidomide, and it was responsible for some serious birth defects (and ultimately set into effect a lot of the regulations we have now, even though that was totally overblown because it wasn't an issue in the US). But they're using it now in clinical trials to treat cancer and it is very effective from what I've heard.

The other thing is that the blood vessels cancer cells create (in response to their lack of oxygen) are different. They do not have nearly as much supporting tissue surrounding it (both because they're newer and because the tumor cells don't care about having a sustainable system, they just randomly throw darts, so to speak), and that makes them a lot more vulnerable to treatments than normal endothelial cells are (those are the cells that form blood vessels).

It does have more side effects in humans, so far, but I think the basic premise of this approach is very valuable. We just need improved compounds that are more effective. One way in which anti-angiogenic drugs are very effective is in combination with normal anti-tumor drugs.

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