The development of new blood vessels. Malignant (cancerous) tumors are able to form their own blood vessels to access nutrients in the bloodstream and “feed.” The newly formed blood vessels are also responsible for spreading cancer throughout the body.
How Does Angiogenesis Work?
The process of angiogenesis is one that is deeply connected to the development and progression of cancer. This process involves the growth of new blood vessels from preexisting ones, and it is crucial for allowing tumors to grow beyond a certain size.
When angiogenesis occurs in cancerous growths, it can be used as a method of diagnosis. For instance, if there is an increase in blood vessel growth in a tumor, this may indicate that there has been an increase in angiogenesis. The amount of blood vessels present in a particular tumor can also be used as an indicator of how fast it will grow or spread.
Additionally, when angiogenesis occurs within tumors themselves (sometimes referred to as intravascular invasion), it can lead to malignant changes within cells that could lead to metastasis—the spreading of cancer outside the original site.
This can make treatment difficult because it means that not only must doctors remove cancer cells from their original site but they also have to add chemotherapy or radiation treatments on top of that so that none remain behind where they started!
How Does the Process Start?
The process starts when a chemical signal is sent from a cell to the surrounding cells (in this case, those around it) telling them to make new blood vessels. The cells then begin producing proteins that break down the nearby tissue in order to make room for these new blood vessels.
This all happens over a period of days or weeks until there are enough new blood vessels for the cancer cells to spread out into other parts of the body.