Viagra pills for skin cancer?



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Skin cancer in mice successfully treated with Viagra

Scientists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg have discovered a cancer-preventive effect of the sexual enhancer Viagra. Accordingly, the active ingredient could possibly help in the treatment of black skin cancer (malignant melanoma) in the future. The pills could improve the immune system.

As the DKFZ researchers found in a recent study, the active ingredient Sildenafil contained in Viagra shows clear positive effects in the treatment of black skin cancer - at least in mice. The DKFZ researchers report in the current issue of the US journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (PNAS) in laboratory tests that the active ingredient of the sexual enhancer strengthened the rodent's immune system and thus significantly reduced the spread of black skin cancer.

The scientists at the German Cancer Research Center used mice for their experiments, since black skin cancer in rodents is clinically very similar to that in humans, explained the DKFZ immunologist Dr. Viktor Umansky. In the course of their investigations "on melanoma-sick mice", the researchers were able to prove "that the active ingredient sildenafil - better known under the trade name Viagra® - cancels the inhibition of the specific immune defense", according to the current DKFZ announcement. Accordingly, the cancer-sick mice, which were given the active ingredient of the sexual enhancer through drinking water, survived "more than twice as long" as untreated species. After seven weeks of testing, only half as many of the untreated mice survived as the rodents swallowing Viagra.

Viagra strengthens the immune defense against tumor cells. The DKFZ scientists cited an activation of the immune system as an explanation for the positive effect of the sexual enhancer against the skin cancer diseases of the mice, which helps to fight the tumors. The cells of the immune system actually attack the tumor cells in a targeted manner, but in most cancers this "cancer-specific immune defense" is suppressed by "chronic inflammatory immune reactions" in the vicinity of the cancer focus, according to the DKFZ. In order to enable the active fight against tumors by the body's own defenses, Dr. Umansky and colleagues as part of their study on methods for containing "chronic inflammation". The researchers tested the active ingredient of the sexual enhancer Viagra, as it has already contributed to strengthening the immune defense against tumors in experimental animal models. This finding was also confirmed in the current study, in which "Sildenafil successfully neutralized the chronic inflammation in the vicinity of the melanoma" and eliminated the "immunosuppressive effect", reports the DKFZ.

Viagra as a future drug for black skin cancer? Since the “disease of the mice is clinically very similar to melanoma in humans”, Dr. Viktor Umansky "it is very possible that sildenafil can suppress the immunosuppressive effects of inflammation even in melanoma people and thus improve the immune defense against cancer." In future, the potency agent could "contribute to the treatment of black skin cancer more successfully", he said DKFZ immunologist. To confirm this assumption, however, further intensive studies are necessary, emphasized Dr. Umansky. (fp)

Read on:
Pharmaceutical company stops Viagra for women
Does Viagra make you hard of hearing?
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Viruses cause white skin cancer
Dangerous black skin cancer
Skin cancer: Dangerous spring sunshine with bald head

Photo credit: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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Video: Skin cancer surgery and recovery: Debs story


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