Angiogenesis-based medicine is the use of natural growth factors found in our bodies to stimulate the process of new vessel growth in under-perfused organs or tissues. By testing in well-controlled clinical trials, experimental medical treatments that induce angiogenesis, physicians are attempting to prolong the lives of many patients who may be facing heart failure, amputation of a limb or other life-threatening complications that come about when a tissue has poor blood perfusion.
Therapeutic angiogenesis stimulates angiogenesis where it is required but is lacking. This technique is used to replenish the blood supply to chronic wounds to speed healing, and it prevents unnecessary amputations. New research suggests this approach can also be used to save limbs afflicted with poor circulation, and even oxygen-starved hearts. Therapeutic angiogenesis may even help to regenerate damaged or lost tissues in ways that were previously considered impossible, such as with nerves and brain tissue. It is a natural process; when we cut ourselves, angiogenic growth factors in our bodies are released which stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the injured tissues. When a person is afflicted with coronary artery disease, growth factors can fashion a new “collateral” blood circulation network in the heart.
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Angiogenesis is the growth of new capillary blood vessels. Arteriogenesis is the growth of small arterioles in the body and are important natural processes used for healing. The body induces angiogenesis in damaged tissues by releasing a barrage of growth factors that stimulate new vessel growth. Insufficient blood perfusion (flow) is now recognized as a “common denominator” underlying many deadly and debilitating conditions, including diabetic ulcers, cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, stroke, and many others. The list of diseases that are caused by lack of blood flow as an underlying mechanism grows longer every year.
Fibroblast Growth Factor 1 (FGF-1), a Potent Stimulator of Angiogenesis : Several growth factors have been shown to stimulate angiogenesis, including VegF (vascular endothelial cell growth factor) and EGF (epidermal growth factor), but one growth factor, in particular, FGF-1, stands out due to its potency and its ability to stimulate the production of not only capillaries but larger arterioles, which are critical in bringing more blood into the injured tissue.
Formation of a new vessel occurs as endothelial cells bud off of an existing blood vessel to form hollow tubes which are furthered modeled into capillaries.
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