In a study using laboratory animals, researchers found that medications commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction opened a mechanism called the blood-brain tumor barrier and increased delivery of cancer-fighting drugs to malignant brain tumors.
The experiments were conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and published in Brain Research.
Viagra (sildenafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) are known as PDE5 inhibitors because they block an enzyme, phosphodiesterase5, which interrupts a series of biochemical events that cause the decreased blood flow of erectile dysfunction. This laboratory rat study, published online ahead of print in the journal, found that similar biochemical interactions in the small vessels of the brain play a major role in the blood-brain tumor barrier, which impedes delivery of anti-tumor drugs into brain tumors. PDE5 inhibitors were found to open the barrier and increase drug transport in this early animal study.
Although the normal blood-brain barrier, which regulates access to the brain from the bloodstream, shares many characteristics with the blood-brain tumor barrier, the signaling mechanism blocked by PDE5 inhibitors is unique to the blood-brain tumor barrier. This allows the PDE5 inhibitors to selectively increase drug transport to malignant brain tumors without affecting normal brain tissue.
According to the researchers, these findings may have significant implications in improving drug delivery to brain tumors in patients.
“This is the first study to show that oral administration of PDE5 inhibitors increases the rate of transport of compounds across the blood-brain tumor barrier and improves the effectiveness of the anti-tumor drug adriamycin in the treatment of brain tumors in a rat model. We chose adriamycin for this study because it is one of the most effective drugs against brain tumor cell lines in the laboratory but it has very little effect in animals and humans because it is unable to cross the blood-brain tumor barrier. The combination of vardenafil and adriamycin resulted in longer survival and smaller tumor size,” said neurosurgeon Keith L. Black, M.D., chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute.
Black, the article’s first and corresponding author, has been recognized for his earlier groundbreaking work to break through the blood-brain tumor barrier with natural and synthetic bradykinin, a peptide that temporarily opens the barrier and increases anti-cancer drug delivery into certain tumors by more than 1,000 percent. In 2000, he received the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, for his blood-brain barrier research.
In the current studies, the blood-brain tumor barrier-opening effects of PDE5 lasted considerably longer than those of bradykinin and allowed greater transport across the barrier into tumor tissues. Because vardenafil was found to be more effective than sildenafil in increasing blood-brain tumor barrier permeability and transport, vardenafil was used in a survival study of 29 tumor-bearing rats. Those treated with saline (control) survived 32 days on average while those treated with vardenafil alone survived about 35 days and those treated with adriamycin alone survived about 42 days. When vardenafil was combined with adriamycin, rats survived an average 53 days.
Although the researchers exposed the laboratory animals to doses of sildenafil and vardenafil that are comparable to the dose range approved for erectile dysfunction in humans, there were no detectable side effects in the rats, and neither drug increased transport of tracers into normal brain tissue.
Funding for the studies was provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (the Javits Award), the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and the Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neuroscience, held by Black.
Sandy Van | prpacific
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences