EDUCATION: Cancer's Little Helper

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Science  07 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5783, pp. 23
DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5783.23d

To sustain their frantic division, some cancer cells pump out the protein VEGF, which helps spur angiogenesis, or blood vessel growth. Teachers and students can brush up on VEGF basics at this tutorial from the biotech company Genentech. The protein has a good side, helping sculpt the embryonic circulatory system. But tumors exploit it for nefarious purposes, possibly including protection from the immune system. Readers can learn about the protein's role in lung, breast, and colon cancers: In all three, patients whose tumors exude VEGF have a poorer prognosis. The site also features slide shows and narrated videos that depict the protein in action.

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