Scientists from the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and University of California, San Francisco have identified a regulatory factor that controls development of the human vascular system. The research, published in the August 12 issue of the journal Developmental Cell, may offer clues to potential therapeutic targets for a wide variety of diseases that are impacted by or affect the vascular system.
During this week's GEN podcast, Dr. Jason Fish talks about the regulatory factor the research team discovered and how blood vessels respond to angiogenic signals. He also describes the three model systems used in the study and how they led to a better understanding of the miRNA molecule's influence on blood vessel development.
The researchers also found that the molecule regulated endothelial responses to angiogenic signals by regulating several components of the VEGF pathway, which is important during development of blood vessels and is required for their maintenance. Since inhibiting VEGF signaling has been a major target of modern cancer therapies, Dr. Fish discusses how regulating the miRNA molecule may represent an additional approach to regulate blood vessel formation in diseases such as cancer.