Researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) and the National Heart Centre Singapore have discovered a new gene, called Wars2, which controls blood vessel formation, thus presenting a possible new drug target for cancer and heart disease.
For the first time, a team led by Professor Stuart Cook at Duke-NUS, uncovered a role for Wars2 in the formation of blood vessels, or angiogenesis.  They found that inhibiting the function of the gene impaired angiogenesis.
The discovery provides researchers and pharmaceutical companies a fresh new target for developing treatments for diseases characterised by abnormal blood vessel growth.
“Angiogenesis is vital for supporting life and providing nutrients to all parts of the body,” said Prof Cook, Tanoto Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre.
“Finding a way to control angiogenesis not only provides a target for the development of anti-cancer therapies, but may also prove useful in similarly starving abnormal blood vessel growth elsewhere in the body, like in diabetic eye disease.”