While there are many variations of chemokine involved in angiogenesis, some are considered inhibitors while others are promoters. CXCL12 is a variation of a chemokine especially prominent in the promotion of vascularization in cancers. CXCR4 is a receptor (or activator) for CXCL12. It is considered a ligand as it binds to the larger CXCL12. As stated in the last post, the introduction of chemokines should promote vascularization in the cell. Because activation acts as a domino affect, one protein must be triggered in order to trigger the next. In this case, CXCR4 must be introduced in order to cause the desired reaction of CXCL12.
Angiogenesis is a process most commonly occurring in cancers where new blood vessels grow from those that already existed and spread to new parts of the body (such as tumors). We are currently looking into how new objects in the body become an integrated part of the vascular system. One of the promoters of angiogenesis are chemokines, which we are hoping to purposely incorporate into synthetic organs to allow them to become part of the body instead of simply something present in the system.
We have taken an interest in the concept of synthetic organs. The problems faced by those in need of organ donations are widely known and not to be ignored. By using the patients own DNA, it is possible to develop an organ that the body will not reject. Still, the process of creating this organ is more simple than incorporating it into a working body. One of the main challenges that has been faced is developing vascularity within these organs.
We looked into the vascularity of cancers cells, as they are formed from the patient's DNA but are new. We chose to look at the aspects of cancer because of its ability to integrate itself into the body systems. This lead us to chemokines, a chemical found in cancers that enact angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels. While the normal focus on chemokines is on the negative effects to the cells natural functioning, the interest here is to use the aspects that are considered negative to our advantage. This chemical reaction can be synthetically produced by inserting the promoter into the synthetic organ, essentially combining the natural and unnatural.