I am examining angiogenesis – the process of how blood vessels grow – to learn how to make more blood vessels grow and discover ways to stop their growth. New blood vessels sprout from existing blood vessels. In addition, stem cells from bone marrow go to areas that require new blood vessels and differentiate into blood vessel-lining cells called endothelial cells. Endothelial cells line the inside of every blood vessel. My research lab has confirmed that when we turn on a protein receptor on the surface of the endothelial cells, we can block blood vessels from growing. We are also studying whether blocking this receptor will have the opposite effect of increasing blood vessel growth. All tissue needs blood to deliver nutrients to survive and grow. In heart disease, blood vessels are blocked by hardening of the arteries. When not enough blood gets to the heart, tissue dies, causing a heart attack. If we can make new blood vessels grow and bypass the blockage, heart tissue could potentially survive without surgery. Cancer tumours also require blood vessels to grow, and will only grow to 1-2 millimetres without a blood supply. If we can stop the growth of blood vessels to this tissue, tumour growth could be blocked. Stopping blood vessel growth could also stop tumours from spreading. Blood vessel growth also promotes chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, so blocking growth may ultimately help treat these conditions as well.