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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New research, at a local cancer center, has found that a drug used for erectile dysfunction shows promise for patients with malignant throat tumors.

Having a good immune system is essential in fighting head and neck cancer. As it turns out, researchers and physicians at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UHealth-University of Miami Health System found that Cialis, used to treat erectile dysfunction, helps the immune system that helps the cells necessary to combat head and neck cancers.

The drug shows promise for patients to promote tumor immunity against malignant throat tumors before removal.

At a press conference Tuesday, doctors explained that Cialis helps the patient’s own cells and immune system position themselves in a way they can stop or slow down a tumor from growing.

Marc Giattini, who was at the press conference Tuesday, was diagnosed with tongue cancer and put in the Cialis clinical trial. He was given Cialis for a few weeks straight before his surgery. Doctors said the drug helped control the tumor before surgery.

CLICK HERE to watch Cynthia Demos’ report

Doctors Donald Weed, M.D., and Paolo Serafini, Ph.D., completed a clinical trial that showed moderate doses of Tadalafil, known as Cialis to consumers, given to patients with squamous cell cancers of the mouth and throat before surgery resulted in significant and potentially beneficial changes in the patients’ immune response to their cancer.

Serafini and researchers, by understanding the molecular nature of head and neck squamous cell cancer, determined that the type of cancer suppresses the body’s immune response to abnormal tumor cells. Scientists realized that a chemical found in Cialis could inhibit the cancer cells that stop patients’ immune response.

Weed and Serafini, after reviewing results of their trial, discovered that not only did Cialis overcome the cells that suppress the immune response, they also found that it increases CD8+T cells that boost immunity against squamous cells, which minimized tumor growth.

The trial began 15 years ago. A second trial begins in couple months which will couple Cialis with a vaccine.

 

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