Blood vessels are an essential part of the human organism participating in various vital functions. Growing new blood vessels is called angiogenesis, which starts with fetus development in the uterus and continues throughout life (Li, 2010). This physiologic process is tightly regulated by specific angiogenic and anti-angiogenic factors that participate in growing and pruning blood vessels, respectively. However, some pathologic conditions are associated with abnormal angiogenesis. For example, insufficient blood vessel growth is linked to chronic wounds and peripheral artery diseases (Li, 2010). On the other hand, excessive angiogenesis is present in cancer and obesity (Li, 2010). Cancer is a disease that results from abnormal cell division resulting in tumor formation, and one of the hallmarks of cancer is angiogenesis (Li, 2010). Therefore, targeting excessive blood vessel growth in cancer using therapeutic approaches and dietary intervention reduces tumor progression.
Anti-angiogenic therapy is a new approach that contributes to cancer treatment. There are many FDA-approved drugs available for halting blood vessel overgrowth. For example, Avastin is an anti-angiogenic medication, which is successfully used to treat different types of cancer, heavily dependent on angiogenesis (Li, 2010). The introduction of this therapy increased the survival time of many cancer patients (Li, 2010). However, using these pharmaceuticals is not the only way to reduce excessive blood vessel growth because even slight dietary modifications can suppress angiogenesis and possibly prevent cancer. For example, such products as tomato, red grapes, strawberries, soybeans, and tea were highly anti-angiogenic and anti-cancer properties (Li, 2010). Therefore, introducing these food products into a healthy diet can prevent many diseases associated with abnormal angiogenesis. Modifying cancer patients’ nutrition using these products can significantly improve survival rates. This video was very informative for me in terms of dietary interventions that may help prevent cancer development. It was interesting to learn that tomato sauce can prevent blood vessel overgrowth in prostate cancer patients, which can explain that lycopene present in tomato possesses potent anti-angiogenic properties.
Overall, angiogenesis is an essential physiologic mechanism to control blood vessel growth. Abnormalities in the regulation of this process result in various diseases such as obesity and cancer. Using anti-angiogenic drugs helps to shrink tumors, resulting in better survival rates. Adding natural products such as red grapes, tomatoes, and tea can prevent excessive blood vessel growth and cancer. Finally, I will modify my diet and recommend that my friends and family introduce some of these food products into their nutrition plans.
Li, W. (2010). Can we eat to starve cancer? [Video]. TED Talks. Web.