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For further information,
please contact:

Carol Cheneval
Coordination Symposium
T: +41 22 704 36 31
F: +41 22 704 36 37

Foundation (LJF)

Chemin Rieu 17
P.O. Box 270
1211 Geneva 17
T: +41 22 704 36 36
F: +41 22 704 36 37


Massimilino Mazzone

University of Leuven

Wednesday, October 23, 11:35 - 12:00

Oxygen vessels, and inflammation: implications for cancer and ischemia

Vessel formation is a multistep process that involves different cell types and fates. When a tissue becomes hypoxic, VEGF is released and the endothelial cell that is exposed to the highest VEGF concentration becomes a ‘tip cell’. The tip cell leads the sprout at the forefront while the elongation of the new branch relies on proliferation of endothelial ‘stalk cells’, which trail behind the pioneering tip cell. Maturation of the nascent plexus into a mature functional network relies on the recruitment of pericytes and smooth muscle cells regulated by the endothelium and inflammatory cells. Deposition of extracellular matrix, tightening of cellular junctions and induction of endothelial quiescence further stabilize the tube. Vessel maturation and the formation of a vascular lumen allow initiation of blood flow and, in turn, tissue oxygenation. Although our understanding on how vessels sprout is increasing, little is known about how vessels regulate their shape and morphogenesis. Nevertheless, these are important processes since a malshaped endothelium accompanies several pathological conditions as cancer and ischemia. Here, I will show direct and indirect (oxygen-dependent and oxygen-independet) regulatory mechanisms of PHD2 in endothelial cells and macrophages, and how this reflects in the formation of a new vascular network and arteriogenic vessel maturation. These findings have strong implications for the treatment of oncological and ischemic diseases.


Massimiliano (Max) Mazzone graduated in Medical Biotechnology at the Medical School of the University of Torino, Italy, and then performed his PhD in Cell Science and Technologies at the Institute for Cancer Research of Torino, under the supervision of Prof. Comoglio. In 2006, he moved to Belgium as an EMBO-awarded postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Prof. Peter Carmeliet, at the University of Leuven. Since February 2009, he is heading the Lab of Molecular Oncology and Angiogenesis at the Vesalius Research Center (VIB) in Leuven and he is Associate Professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Max Mazzone has contributed to the field of oncology understanding the mechanisms of cancer metastasis and to vascular biology identifying a new endothelial cell phenotype, the "phalanx" cell, which takes part in the formation of aligned blood vessels in perfused tissues. Since he is independent group leader, his team is focusing in studying the response of inflammatory cells to hypoxic conditions in order to restore blood flow in conditions such as cancer and ischemic pathologies. Max got important national awards (the Belgian Royal Academy Prize, the Italian Lorini Award, and the AIRC Price for excellence in science, etc.) and international recognitions (ERC, EMBO, FEBS, Burgen Award, etc.). He is author in 50 papers, with an average impact factor in first or senior corresponding author research papers of 25, almost 4000 total citations, and an H-index of 25. He is member of the boards of several peer-reviewd journals (such as Cancer Research), he is reviewer for almost 20 journals, and he has been so far invited to speak in more than 40 national and international conferences (including GRC, Keystone, AACR, FEBS meetings, etc.).