WSVN -- They're the images of happy couples that helped make erectile dysfunction drugs a three billion dollar business, but now doctors say those little pills may also save lives.
Brian Kumnick: "I did ask them what on earth they were talking about."
Brian Kumnick is fighting throat cancer. He's been through months of radiation and surgery.
Brian Kumnick: "Well, the radiation it's barbaric. It's really barbaric, and I've lost my taste buds, for example. I can't taste anything. Water tastes like acid going down."
He's part of a clinical trial to see if the ED Cialis can cure head and neck cancers.
Brian Kumnick: "It'd be really nice to just take a pill that has a pleasant side effect."
In preliminary studies doctors at Johns Hopkins say Cialis energized patients' immune systems so their bodies could battle the cancer cells. Next, they'll test to see if the drug also shrinks tumors.
Dr. Joseph Califano, Head and Neck Surgery: "When we looked at the blood of head and neck cancer patients, we could get their immune response to rev up to near normal levels."
From fighting cancer, to helping hearts and lungs, doctors have found another use for Viagra.
Mike Cooper, Father: "I was like, what? They said, 'Yeah, the Viagra is due right now.'"
Genevieve suffers from pulmonary hypertension, lack of oxygen causes her to pass out.
Sandra Hernandez, Genevieve's Mom: "We just hear heart transplant, lung transplant. It was devastating. She's my little girl."
Instead of a transplant doctors prescribed Viagra in liquid form to open up her blood vessels.
Dr. Joseph Califano: "It's very exciting to work with drugs that have already had safety data documented on them, because they can be very quickly moved into helping patients."
New possibilities for well-known drugs. Other conditions that could possibly be treated with ED drugs include diabetes, multiple sclerosis, chronic pelvic pain, strokes and even memory loss.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Vanessa WastaPublic RelationsJohns Hopkins MedicineTel: (410) 736-1397