Research Highlights

Nip it in the vessel

Biplab Das

doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.316 Published online 11 November 2008

Researchers have created a novel molecule that helps stop the growth of new blood vessels that nourish vicious tumours1. The novel molecule consisting of a lipid connected to a peptide delivers an anti-cancer gene via a cell surface protein that aids in the growth of new blood vessels. The delivered anti-cancer gene ultimately inhibits tumour growth.

Angiogenesis, the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels, is a remarkable feature of tumor growth. Prevention of new blood vessel formation around tumor tissues is a promising therapeutic approach to combat cancers. Recent studies have identified integrins, a type of cell surface proteins (receptor) and molecular markers as potential drug targets in cancers. Integrins have been shown to play a role in the growth of new blood vessels around tumour.

For the study, the researchers synthesized a lipopeptide known as RGDK-lipopeptide-1. Of the integrins, they chose alpha5beta1 integrin receptor, which has been shown to aid angiogenesis. The research team delivered a complex of an anti-cancer gene (p53) and RGDK-lipopeptide-1 into mice bearing a type of aggressive tumour (B16F1). The study found remarkable inhibition of tumour growth in mice.

The researchers believe that this newly developed RGDK-lipopeptide is a powerful addition to the existing vehicles for delivering anti-cancer genes or drugs in anti-angiogenic cancer therapy selectively via α5β1 integrin receptors.

"This new lipopeptide is also expected to find use in non-invasive imaging of the network of blood vessels around tumour," says lead researcher Arabinda Chaudhuri. Research is under progress towards understanding how the administration of RGDK-lipopeptide anti-cancer gene complex inhibits the tumor growth, he adds.

The authors of this work are from: Division of Lipid Science and Technology, Pharmacology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India.


References

  1. Pramanik, D. et al. Lipopeptide with a RGDK Tetrapeptide Sequence Can Selectively Target Genes to Proangiogenic α5β1 Integrin Receptor and Mouse Tumor Vasculature. J. Med. Chem. doi: 10.1021/jm800915y (2008)