Handbook of experimental pharmacology issue:176 Pt 2 pages:157-212
The vasculature is the first organ to arise during development. Blood vessels run through virtually every organ in the body (except the avascular cornea and the cartilage), assuring metabolic homeostasis by supplying oxygen and nutrients and removing waste products. Not surprisingly therefore, vessels are critical for organ growth in the embryo and for repair of wounded tissue in the adult. Notably, however, an imbalance in angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels) contributes to the pathogenesis of numerous malignant, inflammatory, ischaemic, infectious and immune disorders. During the last two decades, an explosive interest in angiogenesis research has generated the necessary insights to develop the first clinically approved anti-angiogenic agents for cancer and blindness. This novel treatment is likely to change the face of medicine in the next decade, as over 500 million people worldwide are estimated to benefit from pro- or anti-angiogenesis treatment. In this following chapter, we discuss general key angiogenic mechanisms in health and disease, and highlight recent developments and perspectives of anti-angiogenic therapeutic strategies.