Angiogenesis is the first step in the metastatic pathway, providing nutrients and oxygen to tumours via newly developed vasculature. In tumourigenesis, angiogenic vessels are disorganised and highly variable in thickness and composition. This leads to impaired delivery of nutrients and oxygen, and results in vessel leakiness, allowing intravasation of tumour cells into the circulation. To compensate for vessel irregularity, the tumour increases production of pro-angiogenic factors, further exacerbating the problem. The hostile microenvironment eventually selects for malignant cells with an invasive phenotype.
In recent years, there has been an increased interest in tumour microenvironment (TME) targeted therapies due to the decreased likelihood of acquired resistance. Tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) promote angiogenesis, are abundant in the TME, and represent an attractive target for immunotherapy.
Aquila is developing an in vitro angiogenesis assay based on the ability of endothelial cells to form capillary-like tubules, a read-out that correlates with angiogenic potential. The Aquila angiogenesis assay is unique. Co-culture of fluorescent HUVECs and M2-polarised macrophages, under optimised culture conditions, demonstrates the ability of test compounds to modulate tube formation in comparison to other known stimulators and inhibitors of angiogenesis.
Please contact us today to discuss any of our assays in development and for up-to-date information on how Aquila can work with you.