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Developmental and Pathological Angiogenesis

Developmental and Pathological Angiogenesis

Developmental and Pathological Angiogenesis

Our laboratory studies developmental and pathological angiogenesis to identify new signalling pathways that control the formation and morphogenesis of blood vessels. Our research goal is to advance fundamental knowledge of blood vessel formation. The ability to control the growth of blood vessels may have important therapeutic implications for the treatment of eye diseases and solid tumours.

Induced formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) in the eye is frequently associated with various disorders that can lead to severe vision loss or blindness. Diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are the leading types of these disorders in the Western world. Current therapies to delay unwanted ocular angiogenesis include laser surgery or the inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a factor with significant pro-angiogenic properties. However, identifying alternative or complementary pathways to VEGF may lead to the development of more effective and safer inhibitors of ocular angiogenesis.

Ongoing projects

1. The laboratory is looking to understand the mechanisms of BMP family signalling in endothelial cells. Our particular research aim is to develop strategies for modulating vascular signalling in eye diseases characterized by excessive blood vessel growth. Our goal is to identify and characterize new angiogenesis inhibitors that are more effective than the current VEGF inhibitors used in a clinical setting and that do not have some of the adverse effects of these inhibitors.

2. The laboratory's second research project is to develop strategies for tumour vascular normalization. We want to develop new strategies to improve blood vessel function in tumours (a process called vascular normalization) with the goal of developing new treatments to increase the therapeutic index of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.