Viagra, also known as sildenafil, was originally developed as a drug for the treatment of hypertension, but in clinical trials it was found that the drug was not as effective as expected. Scientists, however, drew attention to the side effect of the drug – its use caused an erection. All this led to the fact that the development and testing of the drug were continued, and in 1998 it was registered in the US as a medicine for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Over the years of using sildenafil in clinical practice, the drug has been tried in a variety of ways areas of medicine – for example, considered it as a remedy for obesity or a drug that helps cope with the jet lag. Now researchers suggest using small doses of the drug for the prevention of colorectal cancer. While they tested the effectiveness of the drug only on animals, they believe that such an action will be confirmed in patients.
Researchers noted that the increase in the concentration of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in cells leads to inhibition of the development of tumor cells intestines. It is known that Viagra inhibits the work of the enzyme PDE5, whose function is the cleavage of cGMP. Thus, taking the drug may cause an increase in the concentration of cGMP in the cells, which will affect the division of precancerous cells in the intestine and prevent the development of colorectal cancer.
Scientists from the University of Augusta (Augusta University, USA) tested the drug on a specially deduced line mice that were predisposed to developing colorectal cancer. The introduction of Viagra led to a 50% decrease in the number of polyps in the intestine.
The authors also tested the preparation of linaclotype – it was almost more effective than Viagra. Its use, however, is accompanied by severe diarrhea, which makes it not very convenient to use.
In the near future, the authors plan to conduct an experiment on patients at high risk of developing colorectal cancer.