ABC News: Growing blood
vessels in the heart.
Fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF-1) is a potent angiogenic agent
Several growth factors have been shown to stimulate angiogenesis, but one growth factor, in particular, FGF-1, stands out due to its potency and its ability to stimulate the production of not only capillaries but larger arterioles, which are critical in bringing more blood into the injured tissue. FGF-1 is the only member of the family of 22 FGFs that binds with high affinity to all 7 isoforms of the FGF cell surface receptor. This biological activity makes FGF-1 an extremely attractive and robust therapeutic agent to promote angiogenesis. FGF-1 is the active ingredient in all of Zhittya’s drug formulations that are currently under clinical development.
Perfusion is a normal physiological process that requires the heart to pump blood through healthy open blood vessels for distribution to organs and tissues throughout the body. Maintaining cardiovascular health is essential to optimal perfusion. The extent of tissue damage from impaired perfusion depends on the size and location of the blood vessel and whether the blood supply is reduced or completely interrupted. When the blood supply is available but decreased, tissue damage or ischemia results, as seen when blood flow is interrupted to the coronary arteries in coronary artery disease and myocardial ischemia occurs. Chest pain or angina is produced as a result of this ischemia and the function of myocardial cells is reduced, but the cells do not die. However, prolonged ischemia of heart tissue leads to necrosis and death of the myocardial cells which cannot regenerate.
Previous research suggests this approach can also be used to save limbs afflicted with poor circulation, and oxygen-starved hearts. Therapeutic angiogenesis may also help to regenerate damaged or lost tissues in ways that were previously considered impossible, such as in brain tissue damaged in stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Regeneration of new blood vessels
Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels in the body, is an important natural process used for healing. The body induces angiogenesis in damaged tissues by releasing a barrage of growth factors that stimulate new vessel growth. Insufficient blood perfusion is now recognized as a “common denominator” underlying many deadly and debilitating conditions, including diabetic foot ulcers, cardiovascular disease, peripheral artery disease, stroke, and numerous other disorders.
Therapeutic angiogenesis stimulates angiogenesis where it is required but is lacking. For example, this technique can be applied to replenish the blood supply to chronic diabetic foot ulcers to speed healing and prevent unnecessary amputations.