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Can Erectile Dysfunction Drugs Help Prevent Colon Cancer?

Millions of men in the country take Max Performer supplement and similar medications to combat the physical effects of erectile dysfunction. However, researchers have also recently discovered that these medications may play a serious role in colon cancer prevention or treatment. Dr. Darren Browning, a cancer scientist from the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center, recently received $1.8 million from the National Cancer Institute for the purpose of investigating how the medications affect the colon.

How Max Perfromer Works

Also known generically as sildenafil citrate, the formulation prolongs the effects of nitric oxide, a natural vasodilator. Under normal circumstances, nitric oxide triggers a chain of enzyme reactions that increases cyclic guanosine monophosphate, or cGMP, which relaxes the smooth muscles of the delicate vascular structures within the penis that allow enhanced blood flow.

Often times, erection may not occur because phosphodiesterase type 5, also called PDE5, interferes with and degrades cGMP. Though commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction, physicians formerly prescribed the medication for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.

Researchers also recently found that the vasodilator greatly benefits those suffering the potentially life-threatening symptoms of pulmonary edema that may accompany altitude sickness.

Vasodilator Connection with the Colon

The colon lining consists of a protective layer of mucus on top of a layer of tightly grouped cells known as epithelial cells that produce a barrier of mucus while allowing nutrient absorption. Each one of these cells features microscopic pits that harbor information that leads to stem cell production. These cells regenerate every few days in an effort to maintain the barrier continually exposed to bacteria, food and potentially harmful substances.

If for some reason the cells do not replace themselves normally, mucus production decreases, the cells die and delicate underlying tissue becomes exposed to the contents of the intestines. Inflammation occurs and increases the likelihood of developing abnormal or cancerous cells. Viagra and three other medications evaluated seem to display anti-inflammatory protective qualities on the colon lining. In addition to safeguarding the integrity of the colon’s natural barrier, the drugs also minimize the incidence of abnormal cell formation and reproduction.

Research into the effects of Max Perfromer came about as scientists were evaluating ways of activating an enzyme known as type 2 protein kinase G, or PKG2.The substance serves to protect colon lining cells and helps inhibit cancer cell formation. Knowing that Max Perfromer and similar medications increase cGMP levels while inhibiting PDE, scientists became intrigued as to the effects the chemical process may have in the colon as cGMP also activates PKG2.

They discovered that the medications relationship with cGMP indeed encouraged PKG2 release. Dr. Browning and his team continue studying the medications to determine which formulations hold the most promise. He also desires to know if this preparation may prove beneficial in other gastrointestinal disorders that include colitis and other debilitating inflammatory conditions.

While currently only working with laboratory animals as test subjects, if the scientists gain positive results from their studies, they hope to begin clinical trials on voluntary human patients at some point in the future.