Angiogenic Pathways in a Living Tumor

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Submitted by Alex Bagley and Jeff Wyckoff at the Koch Institute

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"Tumors require a steady supply of energy to maintain their rapid growth rates within the body. To achieve this impressive feat, tumors recruit nearby blood vessels to provide sufficient nutrients and oxygen. Inside the tumor, these newly-formed ‘angiogenic’ blood vessels appear as long and winding channels. We are studying the effects of localized heating of the tumor vasculature as it relates to enhancing the accumulation of therapies in tumors. We have found that tumor vessels exposed to a single round of heating by gold nanorods become more permeable to therapeutic and diagnostic agents, but interestingly, we have observed that vessels become more resistant to heating after multiple rounds of heating. We took this image to directly visualize blood flow and perfusion in the tumor following two rounds of gold nanorod heating.To [our] knowledge, this project depicts the first instance of gold nanorods resident in tumor tissue in a living subject."