Essay by tiatripodiHigh School, 10th grade August 2014

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Tia Tripodi

Period 4

Can Cancer Tumors be starved?

How the idea of cancer cells came to be

What proteins Dr. Folkman found

What HIF-1 and VEGF are and how they affect tumor cells

Mice experiment

The Results of how wild-type cells and HIF-1 cells affect tumor growth

The thought of starving cancer cells to death started from a researcher from Harvard University, Dr. Judah Folkman. He wasn't the first person to believe that starving cancer cells was possible; many oncologists; cancer specialists had observed this subject before. He believed that removing a primary tumor usually leads to a rapid growth of secondary tumors. He reasoned that "the primary tumor is producing some substance that inhibits the growth of the other tumors." He believed that a substance of that kind could be a powerful tool against cancer. So Dr. Folkman tried to isolate a chemical from the primary tumor that could possibly inhibit the growth of a secondary tumor.

When Dr. Folkman was looking for these chemicals he discovered two. He called the chemicals he found angiostatin and endostatin. Angiostatin and endostatin are thought to be very helpful by cutting off the tumor's nutrients source. Angiostatin and endostatin can "starve" a tumor to death by cutting off its blood supply. If there is not enough blood flowing to the tumor, it will not have a substantial amount of food, nutrients, or fuel to produce a new cancer cell.

Dr. Randall Johnson, from the University of California was studying a response of a tumor to hypoxia, not an efficient amount of oxygen in a tumor cell. A transcription factor, called HIF-1(hypoxia inducible factor-1) seems to induce the transcription of genes necessary for the formation of a blood vessel. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a key role in the formation...