Here’s part 6 of our cancer biology blog series. If you haven’t read the previous parts, we recommend that you go through it before proceeding with this blog. This will help you understand the complete topic better and be ready for the next parts. Click Here to read –
After discussing various important aspects of cancer biology now we move on to another crucial property of cancer cells which helps them surviving a very dangerous condition which is called hypoxia.
In this case, while the cells are having good circulatory connections with the blood capillaries so they can get a good amount of oxygen to do their functions normally. But suddenly the normal cells start becoming cancer cells, by growing fast and creating tumours. However, the blood capillaries that are already present in that environment are not enough to supply sufficient oxygen to these newly growing cells. This is because that body was not ready for that or the system was not ready for that.
So, an environment gets created where these cells or cancer cells have to face the hypoxic condition or hypoxia. And in this condition, a specific protein is induced in the cancer cells which is called as HIF – Hypoxia-Inducible Factor. Generally, this protein has various functions that include helping the cells during hypoxia condition, ensuring the survival of cells and ultimately inducing the NGO Genesis, means the formation of new blood capillaries so that this condition can be removed.
Hence, the fast-growing tumour cells face hypoxia – nutritional stress because they do not get proper blood supply. And these tumour cells start expressing hypoxia-inducible factor – HIF. Also, they start producing Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and this VEGF behaves as a ligand, whose receptor is present on the blood vessels. Once the signalling is initiated there is the formation of new blood vessels. This whole process is called angiogenesis.
Based on the above observation, it can be stated that the cancer cells are fortunate that they can induce angiogenesis which helps them not only fight hypoxia and nutritional stress but also aid them in starting the metastasis process. And whenever they want, they can use these newly synthesized blood capillaries so they can move from one place to another.
So, angiogenesis a very important characteristic of cancer cells that helps them tweak the circulatory system according to their will and use it for different purposes.
We will discuss another important property of cancer biology in the part-7 of our blog series.