Therapeutic vascularization in regenerative medicine

Jun 30, 2022, 1:30 PM
Room: S1

Room: S1


Banfi, Andrea (Basel University Hospital)


Therapeutic angiogenesis, i.e. the generation of new vessels by delivery of specific factors, is required both for rapid vascularization of tissue-engineered constructs and to treat ischemic conditions. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) is the master regulator of angiogenesis. However, uncontrolled expression can lead to aberrant vascular growth, as well as non-vascular side-effects. Major challenges to fully exploit VEGF potency for therapy include the need to control in vivo distribution of growth factor dose and duration of expression. In fact, the therapeutic window of VEGF delivery depends on its amount in the microenvironment around each producing cell rather than on the total dose, since VEGF remains tightly bound to extracellular matrix. On the other hand, short-term expression of less than about 4 weeks leads to unstable vessels, which promptly regress following cessation of the angiogenic stimulus. Here we will briefly overview some key aspects of the biology of VEGF and angiogenesis and discuss their therapeutic implications, with a particular focus on approaches using gene therapy, genetically modified progenitors and extracellular matrix engineering with recombinant factors.


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