A delivery system for the biological signaling agent nitric oxide (NO) to fortify the effects of Viagra in the body has been developed by scientists.
The initial tests show that the highly absorbent material for carrying high amounts of NO will be helpful in treating conditions ranging from heart disease to skin ulcers and other wounds that fail to heal.
The scientists explained that NO acts as an important agent in the body for expanding blood vessels (its role in Viagra and related medicines for erectile dysfunction), preventing the formation of blood clots, aiding nerve signals, and repairing wounds.
NO's multipurpose role makes it an exciting prospect for new drug development, but current NO delivery systems sometimes cause undesirable side effects, explained the scientists.
With the new delivery system, the material slowly releases NO at a rate that is useful for treating diseases, they concluded.
"Clearly, new materials and technologies are needed to store and target-deliver NO in biological amounts," the report noted.
The study findings are published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.