Two studies find that two drugs used to treat common conditions may also be helpful against other diseases.
Many drugs find a new life when doctors notice that a medication designed for one purpose seems to do something else unexpected. This week saw two studies in which an existing drug showed promise for a different disease. In a study published in the journal Cancer Research, a hormone important in the control of blood pressure was found to shrink lung cancer tumors in mice. Trials on people will begin soon. Researchers got the idea to test the drug against cancer when they saw that a population of blood pressure patients on so-called ACE inhibitors—which increase level of the hormone studied—had lower than expected rates of lung cancer. Meanwhile, a report in the journal Chest finds that a particular drug seems to improve a condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, marked by scarring in the lungs. A small study of patients on the drug found that they had a measurable increase in their lung function and could walk further. The drug in question is in fact the blood vessel dilator Viagra. Which sometimes makes walking more difficult.