Fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) is a member of a large family of proteins that bind heparin and heparan sulfate and modulate the function of a wide range of cell types. FGF-2 stimulates the growth and development of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) that contribute to the pathogenesis of several diseases (i.e. cancer, atherosclerosis), normal wound healing and tissue development. FGF-2 contains a number of basic residues (pI 9.6) and consists of 12 anti-parallel beta-sheets organized into a trigonal pyrimidal structure. FGF-2 binds to four cell surface receptors expressed as a number of splice variants. Many of the biological activities of FGF-2 have been found to depend on its receptor's intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity and second messengers such as the mitogen activated protein kinases. However, considerable evidence suggest that intracellular FGF-2 might have a direct biological role particularly within the nucleus. In addition, heparan sulfate proteoglycans have been demonstrated to enhance and inhibit FGF-2 activity. The possibility that FGF-2 activity can be manipulated through alterations in heparan sulfate-binding is currently being exploited in the development of clinical applications aimed at modulating either endogenous or administered FGF-2 activity.