Viagra and a Flu Vaccine Could Help Fight Against Cancer

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A new research conducted by the Ottawa Hospital discovered a new treatment for cancer after the surgery. A combination of common treatments can help the immune system to fight against cancer cells that remain after removing the tumor.

Using a treatment for erectile dysfunction and a flu vaccine, the study shows amazing results.

Almost 90% of the cancer was reduced in a mouse model. Now, the study evaluates the efficiency in the first clinical trial. Senior author Rebecca Auer said:

“Surgery is very effective in removing solid tumors. However, we’re now realizing that, tragically, surgery can also suppress the immune system in a way that makes it easier for any remaining cancer cells to persist and spread to other organs.”

She added that they found a combination of treatments to work in mice models:

“Our research suggests that combining erectile dysfunction drugs with the flu vaccine may be able to block this phenomenon and help prevent cancer from coming back after surgery.”

First, the study investigated the combination of tadalafil (Cialis), sildenafil (Viagra), and Agriflu – an inactivated influenza vaccine. Then, researchers used the combination in a mouse model which mimicked the metastasis after a surgery.

Allowing the ‘Natural Killer’ to Fight Cancer

Auer and her team discovered that the immune cells called natural killer (NK) that would fight against cancer after a surgery are blocked by other immune cells called myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC). The erectile dysfunction drugs proved to be successful in blocking the MDSCs, allowing the NK to fight cancer. The flu vaccine proved to stimulate the NK cells.

Now, Rebecca Auer is taking a second step: clinical trials on people with cancer with the combination of the erectile dysfunction drug (tadalafil) and the flu vaccine.

The clinical tests will have 24 patients at the Ottawa Hospital that have abdominal cancer surgery. She will see if the treatment is safe and if it changes the immune system. If the results are successful, the team of researchers will continue to perform larger trials to find other benefits.

A Safe and Inexpensive Treatment to Boost the Immune System After Surgery?

Auer stated that they’re very happy that two safe and inexpensive treatments could solve a huge issue in treating cancer:

“We’re really excited about this research because it suggests that two safe and relatively inexpensive therapies may be able to solve a big problem in cancer. If confirmed in clinical trials, this could become the first therapy to address the immune problems caused by cancer surgery.”

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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