Is there any possibility to use cancer cells, which generate blood vessels, to generate our blood vessels when we are wounded or when we have varicose veins in our legs?

Thanks for your answer in advance.

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    $\begingroup$ Great question, it's hard to control cancer, this approach is harder than the elimination, so I think controlling it is a level higher than destroying it. $\endgroup$
    – Bilal
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


Using cancer cells in this manner would be far too dangerous, as there is nothing to prevent the cells from implanting and forming new tumors. Fortunately, we already know a great deal about angiogenesis, which is the process by which new blood vessels are formed or grown out of existing ones. If you want more details on how the process works, the article I linked to goes into a good amount of detail regarding the key players and how they interact.

It would be much easier (and safer) to use our knowledge of the cytokines and growth factors responsible for blood vessel formation to develop biological therapies that could potentially be used to treat varicose veins. However, current therapies can be quite successful, and there may not be a large enough market to justify the quite large expense required to develop angiogenesis-based therapies.

Unless a patient has some sort of genetic or other issue, angiogenesis is already involved in wound healing. As new tissue grows back, capillaries and perhaps slightly larger blood vessels expand out from the nearest sufficient vein/artery pair to vascularize the new cells. There may be issues with patients who are taking angiogenesis inhibitors as part of a therapy plan for cancer, for example, in which case compromises would have to be made if necessary.

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    $\begingroup$ It is also worth noting that although angiogenesis occurs in many cancer cells, the blood vessels formed are not as structurally sound as normal blood vessels, they are 'friable' and as such have a tendancy to bleed. In some tumours for example this can lead to major haemorrhage. $\endgroup$
    – Spinorial
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 11:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Spinorial that is correct. This is due in large part to the inherent dysregulation of tumor signaling pathways and lack of "proper" angiogenesis as one would see in growth or wound healing, for example. To anthropomorphize, tumors are only interested in getting nutrients to support growth, not in building a proper, sustainable blood vessel scaffold that will last. A tumor is evolving as it grows, responding to its current environment, and doesn't have a genetically-set evolutionary "plan" like normal cells and whole organisms do. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 1:03

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