Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique


Résumé de Kari Alitalo, membre étranger

(Ont pris part à la discussion : Mme D. Balériaux, MM. P. Coulie, J.-M. Foidart, et G. Moonen).


par Kari ALITALO (Université de Helsinki – Finlande), membre étranger. 

Dr. Alitalo discovered vascular growth factors that regulate growth of lymphatic vessels (lymphangiogenesis), and he characterized the involved receptors and signalling mechanisms. He discovered and characterized the endothelial receptor tyrosine kinase Tie1, which together with Tie2 forms the receptor complex for angiopoietins for regulation of vascular permeability, inflammation, angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. He also isolated and cloned the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor-3, purified and cloned its ligand, the first lymphangiogenic growth factor, VEGF-C. He was also central in the characterization of VEGF-D, another VEGFR3 ligand, and VEGF-B. Studies in his laboratory have demonstrated VEGF-C induced tumor angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, intralymphatic tumor growth, and VEGF-C association with tumor metastasis and its inhibition by blocking the VEGFR-3 signal transduction pathway. Inhibitors of this pathway from his laboratory have undergone phase I clinical trials. He demonstrated mechanisms of lymphedema, and developed growth factor therapy for lymphedema, which is now in phase I clinical trial. His most recent finding was the discovery of meningeal lymphatic vessels.