Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The drugs blocked an enzyme and opened blood vessels to tumors but not normal brain

Drugs Commonly used for erectile dysfunction allowed more Chemotherapy to reach brain tumors in laboratory animal study

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
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>