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Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American

Web site shows how a tumor grows in 3-D

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Amgen, angiogenesisEver wondered what it looks like when tumor cells grow inside the body? Drug maker Amgen is hoping to sate this morbid sort of Fantastic Voyage with a new Web site that takes viewers through the various stages of tumor angiogenesis in 3-D. Angiogenesis is a physiological process whereby new blood vessels grow from existing vessels. Although this process is a normal part of the body's ability to grow and heal itself, angiogenesis is also the path through which tumors transition from benign to malignant.


The site (also available in plain old 2-D) looks pretty good even without the paper 3-D glasses that Amgen supplies upon request. The graphics really come alive with the glasses though. The site depicts in painstaking detail a number of physiological phenomena, including how a tumor acquires a dedicated network of blood vessels to supply oxygen, remove waste and grow, and how proteins combine with receptors on the surface of blood vessels to stimulate growth.


In other Amgen news, representatives plan to give a presentation June 7 at the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago to describe how the company's newly approved Prolia osteoporosis drug might help prostate cancer patients whose disease has spread to bone. Amgen created Prolia to help reduce the risk of bone fracture in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis, but further lab research indicated that the drug might also affect the process by which tumors penetrate bone, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Image courtesy of Amgen

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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