Repurposed pharma for cancer

Mopping up cancer cells left behind after surgery might be possible by combining two very disparate medications - a common drug for erectile dysfunction and the flu vaccine. Rebecca Auer of The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa and her colleagues have demonstrated that a combination of either sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis) with the inactivated influenza vaccine (Agriflu) can halt cancer metastasis after surgery, in mice. A trial in 24 human patients using Cialis and Agriflu is now under way. The mode of action seems to hinge on the fact that surgery leads to one type of immune cell that would normal kill metastatic cancer cells being blocked. The erectile dysfunction drugs block the blockers and the flu vaccine further stimulates the cells to kill the metastatic cancer cells.