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  • Posted: 11/07/2012

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NCI Cancer Center News

VCU study finds drug trio improved effectiveness of cancer treatment, protected heart

Combining cancer medication with a drug for erectile dysfunction and one for heart transplants helped kill cancer cells and protected the heart from damage, in a Virginia Commonwealth University study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012. For decades, doxorubicin has been a powerful anti-cancer treatment for various human cancers, including breast, ovarian, colon and prostate. But its use has been limited due to harmful, possibly irreversible effects on the heart. In this study, using cell and animal models, researchers found that sildenafil alone or in combination with rapamycin (an immunosuppressant used to prevent post-transplant organ rejection) significantly improved the anti-cancer effects of doxorubicin while protecting the heart. VCU is home to the Massey Cancer Center.

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NCI cancer centers logo Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.