Once a tumor reaches a certain size it requires blood vessels to supply it with nutrients and oxygen. Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels grow.
Progen’s angiogenesis product candidates have been developed to target a number of proteins, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factors (FGF-1 and FGF-2), which bind to a complex sugar called heparan sulfate to trigger cell signaling. Progen’s researchers and collaborators have a deep understanding of the role of heparan sulfate in cancer disease processes in particular, angiogenesis.
Progen’s products are the first in development that can stop the cell signaling involved in angiogenesis by mimicking heparan sulfate and inhibiting more than one growth factor. In addition to the growth factor activity, Progen’s products inhibit the enzyme heparanase, which breaks down heparan sulfate. This is important as this process is critical to the spread of the cancer throughout the body (metastasis).
It is the dual mechanism of Progen’s products that, we believe, differentiates Progen’s angiogenesis platform from others in development.
PG545 shows promising preclinical anti-tumor activity and is currently being developed towards human clinical trials. At an earlier stage of discovery, Progen has a program to design small molecule inhibitors of heparanase. This enzyme plays an important role in angiogenesis and its inhibition is important to the halting of cancer progression.
For more information please see our angiogenesis factsheet.