A new study conducted by the researchers of Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) has made a discovery that would benefit the process of angiogenesis in an unprecedented way. The study has identified a way wherein new blood vessels could be generated from pre-existing vessels, as such blood flow in the ischemic tissues would be improved.

Discovery of a Pathway to Re-generate Fully Functional Blood Vessels

Dr. Masanobu Komatsu, an associate professor at the University’s Lake Nona campus mentions that the research reveals that in a bid to form fully functional blood vessels, activation of a protein kinase Akt by another protein called R-Ras is required. This mechanism is required to form a lumen, or a hollow structure, of a blood vessel.

Efforts have been made earlier as well wherein the research was focused on providing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an angiogenic growth factor, to the ischemic tissues. However, all of these researches could not benefit the patients substantially.

Dr. Fangfei Li, postdoctoral associate at Dr. Masanobu Komatsu’s lab, compares the generation of new blood cells to that of a growing of a new tree, as sprouts come up from existing vessels and then grows out further to develop  into a fully-formed tree. He points out that their research reveal that there are distinct signals and steps that regulate the entire process.

The researchers propose that R-Ras and VEGF activation of Akt signaling both are important and necessary to produce fully functional blood vessels so as to repair ischemic tissue. The findings of the study have been published in Nature Communications.