The hypothesis that tumors are angiogenesis dependent has, in the past decade, generated new investigations designed to elucidate the mechanism of angiogenesis itself. Many laboratories are now engaged in this pursuit. Some are studying angiogenesis that occurs in physiological situations, whereas others are interested in angiogenesis that dominates pathological conditions. These efforts have led to (1) the development of bioassays for angiogenesis; (2) the partial purification and, in one case, the complete purification of angiogenic factors from neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells; (3) the development of new polymer technology for the sustained release of these factors and other macromolecules in vivo; (4) the cloning and long-term culture of capillary endothelial cells; (5) the demonstration of the role of nonendothelial cells, such as mast cells in modulating angiogenesis; (6) the discovery of angiogenesis inhibitors; and (7) the demonstration that certain animal tumors will regress when angiogenesis is inhibited. The effects of angiogenesis inhibitors provide perhaps the most compelling evidence for the role of angiogenesis in tumor growth. It is conceivable that the original effort to understand the role of angiogenesis in tumor growth will also lead to the use of angiogenesis inhibitors as a new class of pharmacologic agents in a variety of non-neoplastic diseases such as arthritis, psoriasis, and ocular neovascularization. However, much work remains to be done before it will be possible to understand (1) the regulatory systems that govern capillary density in normal tissues; (2) the factors that maintain the viability of microvascular endothelium; (3) the development of the vascular system itself; and (4) the mechanism by which vascular regression occurs, both in the embryo and in the postnatal organism. A knowledge of the mechanisms which underlie these normal processes may help to enlarge our comprehension of tumor angiogenesis.