The formation of a vascular network is a rate-limiting step in solid tumour development. The dynamic cellular ecosystem of a growing tumour mass requires a vascular network to obtain oxygen and nutrients, as well as to remove metabolic waste products. It has been known for almost 50 years that early in their development, tumours stimulate new blood vessel growth through the process of angiogenesis; this is recognised as a cancer hallmark. Yet tumour blood vessel networks are highly heterogeneous and tumours adopt a diverse array of approaches to vessel forming beyond simply angiogenesis. The drivers of such biological heterogeneity in tumour vessels are only just beginning to be understood. To advance our fundamental understanding of how and why tumours evolve particular vascular phenotypes, we exploit our innovations in imaging sciences to spatially resolve tumour vascular architecture and function over time in small animal models and patients.
Emma Brown, Thomas Else, Lina Hacker, Dale Waterhouse
Prof. Margaret Ashcroft, Prof. Carlos Caldas (University of Cambridge, UK)