Doctors may have found a secret weapon to fight cancer: Viagra

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Researchers may have discovered a secret cancer drug. If you thought Viagra was only good for erectile dysfunction, then you’re not alone. Now, however, a new study published in Medicine Reports Unit claims that Viagra is also effective in treating esophageal cancer.

The research was funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council, which found that phosphodiesterase type 5, or PDE5, inhibitors can help shrink tumors in the esophagus. Additionally, PDE5 inhibitors appear to help reverse a patient’s resistance to chemotherapy, and since Viagra is a PDE5 inhibitor, it also becomes an unexpected cancer drug.

Esophageal cancer also tends to get worse faster. This is because the microenvironment (the area directly around the tumor) consists of molecules and blood vessels that have been contaminated. These form a protective zone around the tumour, making it resistant to chemotherapy. Using PDE5 inhibitors as an anticancer drug makes tumors more responsive to chemotherapy.

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According to data collected in studies, only one in 10 patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer lives more than 10 years after their diagnosis. Due to these complications, many attempts to create anti-cancer drugs have emerged. However, none have been shown to be as effective in making cancer-adjacent fibroblasts (CAFs) around esophageal cancer more responsive to chemotherapy.

But, since Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors appear to make CAFs more responsive to chemotherapy, they may prove to be a reliable and effective anti-cancer drug that mitigates the morbid outcomes seen in previous studies. Of course, these results are highly biased, as the researchers say it is difficult to estimate due to varying diagnostic times and low response rates.

Other cancer studies have helped create cancer-killing viruses and a radioactive gel that painlessly kills skin cancer. Now that researchers have discovered the effectiveness of Viagra as an anticancer drug, it could open new doors for research and treatment.

Also see: A “miracle plant” has just been rediscovered after 2,000 years

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