Systems biology of pro-angiogenic therapies targeting the VEGF system

Feilim Mac Gabhann, Amina A. Qutub, Brian H. Annex, Aleksander S. Popel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a family of cytokines for which the dysregulation of expression is involved in many diseases; for some, excess VEGF causes pathological hypervascularization, while for others VEGF-induced vascular remodeling may alleviate ischemia and/or hypoxia. Anti-angiogenic therapies attacking the VEGF pathway have begun to live up to their promise for treatment of certain cancers and of age-related macular degeneration. However, the corollary is not yet true: in coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease, clinical trials of pro-angiogenic VEGF delivery have not, so far, proven successful. The VEGF and VEGF-receptor system is complex, with at least five ligand genes, some encoding multiple protein isoforms and five receptor genes. A systems biology approach for designing pro-angiogenic therapies, using a combination of quantitative experimental approaches and detailed computational models, is essential to deal with this complexity and to understand the effects of drugs targeting the system. This approach allows us to learn from unsuccessful clinical trials and to design and test novel single therapeutics or combinations of therapeutics. Among the parameters that can be varied in order to determine optimal strategy are dosage, timing of multiple doses, route of administration, and the molecular target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-707
Number of pages14
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


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