Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hypertension medication may help in the delivery of chemotherapy

Could opening collapsed blood vessels in a tumor actually help distribute chemotherapy drugs in a more effective way? Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have found that by curbing the amount of collagen produced, you can reach a tumor in a whole new way.

"Angiotensin inhibitors are safe blood pressure medications that have been used for over a decade in patients and could be repurposed for cancer treatment," senior author Rakesh Jain said in a statement. "Unlike anti-angiogenesis drugs, which improve tumor blood flow by repairing the abnormal structure of tumor blood vessels, angiotensin inhibitors open up those vessels by releasing physical forces that are applied to tumor blood vessels when the gel-like matrix surrounding them expands with tumor growth."

Increasing the amount of blood flow to a tumor could cause it to grow at a faster rate, but researchers believe that the benefit of opening up these damaged vessels and allowing the chemotherapy to reach cells it normally wouldn't outweighs the risk. What other treatments could this method be applied to?

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