Friday 24 October, 2014

Viagra may be used to combat skin cancer

Published On: Wed, Nov 9th, 2011 | Skin cancer | By BioNews

Researchers have found that sildenafil, which is better known under its trade name, Viagra, may be used to treat malignant melanoma.

Professor Dr. Viktor Umansky, immunologist at DKFZ and University Medical Centre Mannheim and his team studied chronic inflammation caused by malignant melanoma.

For their research, they used genetically modified (transgenic) mice that spontaneously develop a type of skin cancer, which is very similar to human melanoma.

The melanoma mice were then given sildenafil. This substance had already been reported to improve tumour immunity in experimental animal models several times before.

Of the mice that had been given the substance with their drinking water, more than twice as many were still alive after about seven weeks compared to their untreated fellows.

In the animals that had been treated, both the number of tumour-specific T cells and the level of activating molecules had returned to normal.

This means that sildenafil successfully neutralizes the chronic inflammation in the melanoma environment and combats the immunosuppressive activity of MDSC.

“Our research approach is special because the disease takes a very similar course in mice as melanoma does in humans,” Viktor Umansky said explaining the medical relevance of his findings.

“Therefore, it is very well possible that sildenafil can also inhibit the immunosuppressive effects of inflammation and thus improve anti-tumour immunity in people with melanoma.

“In this way, the drug may contribute to achieving better treatment results in malignant melanoma,” he added.

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