Apr 232011
 
Micrograph of an artery that supplies the hear...

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Researchers at the University of Western Ontario have discovered a new strategy for helping the body make blood vessels in vulnerable or damaged tissue.

The approach, which has implications for the treatment of victims of coronary artery disease, involves the use of a protein named fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9) to assist the “supporting” cells of new blood vessels as they are formed by the body.

Existing biological strategies of ‘therapeutic angiogenesis’ that aim to promote the regeneration of the patients own blood vessels have focused on the endothelial or lining cells of the artery wall.

“Unfortunately and despite considerable investigation, therapeutic angiogenesis has not as yet been found to be beneficial to patients with coronary artery disease,” says Cardiologist Dr. Geoffrey Pickering, who developed the strategy in collaboration with Mathew Frontini at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. “It appears that new blood vessels that form using approaches to date do not last long, and may not have the ability to control the flow of blood into the areas starved of oxygen.”

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