Researchers Discover Anti-cancer Potential of Viagra

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Researchers discover anti-cancer properties of drugs used to treat male erectile dysfunction, according to a new study published on April 11, 2018.

Anticancer Fund, Belgium, teamed up with U.S.-based GlobalCures to study the effects of PDE5 inhibitors-a class of drugs that include sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil, (Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, respectively)-used in the treatment of male erectile dysfunction.

Researchers identified that selective phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors have the potential to be used in new drug trials for treating cancer.

“In many respects sildenafil is the ultimate repurposing success story. It was originally developed for angina, repurposed for erectile dysfunction and then again for pulmonary arterial hypertension, and now it has the potential to be repurposed again as an anti-cancer drug.” said Dr Pan Pantziarka, an author of the study.

It was observed that PDE5 inhibitors show a wide range of mechanisms of action in different cancer types. “Checkpoint inhibitors have radically altered the landscape in oncology, but there remain significant challenges in terms of increasing the number and duration of responses. Emerging evidence, summarized in this paper, suggests that PDE5 inhibitors may be one mechanism for achieving this. It would be ironic if the key to improving outcomes from some of the most expensive drugs in oncology comes from repurposing some of the cheapest non-oncology drugs.” Pantziarka explains.

Further research is required to license these drugs in oncology, and if done, it would be of great advantage, as they are extremely cost-effective and have low toxicity.

Researchers hope that larger efficacy trials will begin than previously conducted ones, to give rise to cheap and repurposed medication.

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