About Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke
Targeting blood vessel growth for cancer treatment
Professor Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke is head of the Angiogenesis Laboratory in the Centre for Tumour Biology. She is studying how new blood vessels form, a process called angiogenesis. All cancers rely on new blood vessels to supply the tumour cells with essential nutrients and oxygen, so discovering different ways to block angiogenesis is the first step on the road to developing new cancer drugs.
Professor Hodivala-Dilke's research focuses on proteins that play a key role in new blood vessel formation. She is particularly interested in proteins called integrins that are found on the surface of cells and affect how cells behave in the body.
Her team has carried out extensive work to find out how certain integrins on endothelial cells are involved in the growth of new blood vessels, particularly in cancer. She has also shown how integrins work together with other key proteins involved in this process.
Several other research groups studying angiogenesis have already developed new cancer drugs targeting integrins as a way to prevent growth of new blood vessels. Some of these have been tested in early-phase clinical trials.
Professor Hodivala-Dilke's team is investigating these drugs in the lab to find out more about how they block angiogenesis. They are also exploring the reasons why these drugs can sometimes unexpectedly encourage new blood vessel growth. This has led the scientists to explore ways of combining different types of chemotherapy to disrupt angiogenesis in the most effective way.
The researchers are also studying other proteins inside endothelial cells to find out how they affect angiogenesis. This work may highlight new targets for cancer treatments designed to starve tumours of their blood supply.
Other research projects by Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke
Endothelial FAK is required for tumour angiogenesis
EMBO Mol Med.2010;2 :516-528
Endothelial alpha 3 beta 1-Integrin Represses Pathological Angiogenesis and Sustains Endothelial-VEGF
Am J Pathol.2010;177 :1534-1548