Pharmaceutical

Viagra could be key to treatments for other diseases

viagra Viagra could be key to treatments for other diseasesThe erectile dysfunction drug Viagra could hold the key to new treatments for the flu, brain cancer, hepatitis, MRSA, and even the Ebola virus, according to a new study conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Viagra is in a class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase (PDE) 5A inhibitors, which work by attacking a protein known as GRP78. Researchers created a compound using Viagra and other drugs in the class such as Cialis. The compound, they discovered, prevented the replication of several different viruses in infected cells. They also made antibiotic-resistant bacteria vulnerable to common antibiotics, and defeated brain cancer stem cells.

“Basically, we’ve got a concept that by attacking GRP78 and related proteins, we hurt cancer cells, inhibit the ability of viruses to infect and reproduce, and we are able to kill superbug antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said lead investigator Paul Dent, with Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine.

While Viagra may hold promise for treating many illnesses, its unique structure is not infallible. PDE5A inhibitors affect the same genetic pathway that allows skin cancer to be more aggressive. A recent study has linked Viagra with an increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The prospective cohort study involved about 31,600 men. Nearly 30,000 said they had never used Viagra, and among them 128 developed melanoma. Of the remaining 1,600 who reported using the drug, 14 developed melanoma. That translates to about 4.3 cases of melanoma per 1,000 men who did not use Viagra compared to 8.6 for every 1,000 men who did. The increased risk remained in men who had used Viagra but discontinued the drug.

Source: Daily Mail