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Father of Viagra Receives Knighthood

While studying sildenafil citrate, Viagra's active ingredient, for possible use in the treatment of high blood pressure and angina, it was observed that male test subjects experienced erections ¨that were harder, firmer, and lasted longer.¨

While studying sildenafil citrate, Viagra’s active ingredient, for possible use in the treatment of high blood pressure and angina, it was observed that male test subjects experienced erections ¨that were harder, firmer, and lasted longer.¨

Simon Campbell, Ph.D., the self-described ¨father of Viagra,¨ was among nearly 1,200 men and women honored by being named to British Commonwealth’s 2015 New Year’s Honors list. As part of this honor, Campbell was officially designated a knight bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II. Knight bachelor is the most basic and lowest rank of knighthood.

Each year the British monarch — Queen Elizabeth II since 1952 — honors people from all walks of life in recognition of the contributions that they have made to the British way of life. Campbell was one of several scientists whose life work was recognized in the 2015 honors list.

Medicinal Chemist

A medicinal chemist, Campbell joined Pfizer Central Research in Sandwich, England, in 1972. In addition to his groundbreaking work on Viagra, the first of the new family of drugs to revolutionize the treatment of impotence, Campbell also worked on research teams that developed the drugs Cardura (doxazosin) and Norvasc (amlodipine). The latter is a calcium channel blocker prescribed to treat angina and high blood pressure. Cardura belongs to a class of drugs known as alpha-adrenergic blockers and is helpful in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland, and high blood pressure. Both drugs are among the world’s best-selling prescription medications.

Campbell is extremely proud of the drugs he helped bring to market. In a 2005 interview with Chemical & Engineering News, a publication of the American Chemical Society, he said, ¨Both of these novel medicines [Cardura and Norvasc] became the leading agents worldwide in their therapeutic class. I’m pleased to be an inventor on the patents for Cardura and Norvasc and the senior author on the research proposal that led to Viagra.¨

Started the Viagra Project

While acknowledging that he cannot lay claim to inventing Viagra because his name is ¨not on the patent,¨ Campbell told the BBC that ¨if you want, I would say I was the father of Viagra because I laid the seed and started the project.

Described by the Imperial College’s Department of Chemistry as ¨a classic example of serendipity,¨ Viagra’s discovery grew out of a Pfizer project headed by Campbell and David Roberts. Their original goal was to investigate the ability of sildenafil citrate — Viagra’s active ingredient — to lower blood pressure and ease the chest pain of angina pectoris. While the drug’s effects on these conditions were less than stellar, researchers noticed that male test subjects were reluctant to give the medication back.

Simon Campbell worked for Pfizer for 26 years, retiring in 1998.

Simon Campbell worked for Pfizer for 26 years, retiring in 1998.

In a 2008 interview with Agence France-Presse, Brian Klee, senior medical director at Pfizer, said the reason for test subjects’ reluctance to give up the drug soon became clear. It was the drug’s side effect of promoting erections ¨that were harder, firmer, and lasted longer.¨

Many Achievements

Campbell’s role in the development of Viagra and other best-selling Pfizer drugs is just one of his many achievements. A graduate of the University of Birmingham, he holds baccalaureate and doctoral degrees. His 26-year career with Pfizer ended in 1998 when he retired as senior vice president for worldwide discovery and medicinals research and development in Europe.

In the years since his retirement from Pfizer, Campbell has kept very busy, consulting on projects with companies in the United Kingdom, United States, and Asia. He has also served on the boards of several professional and research organizations. In July 2004 Campbell was elected president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the United Kingdom’s professional body for chemical scientists.

At the same time that Campbell took over the leadership of the RSC, the organization officially launched its Campaign for the Chemical Sciences, designed to inform the public about the importance of the chemical sciences to Britain’s very future.

Stresses Role of Chemistry

In his interview with Chemical & Engineering News, Campbell said, ¨Chemistry is going to be at the forefront in solving major economic, scientific, and human challenges this century. Tackling global warming, improving energy efficiency, and developing new materials and medicines will all depend on advances in the chemical sciences. Chemistry is the basis of clean water provision, stable food supplies, and the control of infectious diseases.¨

Being named to Queen Elizabeth II’s 2015 New Year’s Honors list is not the first such honor for Simon Campbell. In December 2006 the medicinal chemist was summoned to Buckingham Palace to be named a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or CBE, in recognition of his contributions to life in the United Kingdom.

Honored to Get CBE

Of the CBE award, Campbell said, ¨It was an honor to be awarded the CBE by the Queen, and I particularly appreciated the citation ¨For Services to Science.¨

Among the several advances in pharmaceutical science overseen by Campbell, probably none has had a more far-reaching effect than the development of Viagra. It was the first of the so-called PDE5 inhibitors to come to market, winning approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March 1998.

Although his name is not on its patent, Simon Campbell considers himself to be ¨the father of Viagra.¨

Although his name is not on its patent, Simon Campbell considers himself to be ¨the father of Viagra.¨

Viagra and other drugs in this class — Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, and Stendra — work much the same way to enable men with erection problems to recover erectile function at least temporarily. They get their name from their ability to deactivate an enzyme known as phosphodiesterase-5, which can interfere with a man’s ability to get and keep an erection.

The erectile process is triggered by feelings of sexual desire in the brain, which in response sends a flood of nitric oxide to the pelvic region. Among the secondary chemical reactions that follow, a substance known as cyclic guanosine monophosphate, or cGMP, is created. To facilitate the erection process, cGMP relaxes the smooth muscles that line blood vessels supplying the penis. This allows a rush of blood into the spongy erectile tissues of the penis, which results in an erection.

What the Enzyme Does

One of the primary functions of the PDE5 enzyme is to break down cGMP. By temporarily disabling the enzyme, the inhibitor allows the erection process to proceed without little to no interference. Depending on the specific PDE5 inhibitor used, this deactivation of the PDE5 enzyme can last anywhere from four to 36 hours.

If you’re looking for a reliable online source for Viagra or one of the other PDE5 inhibitors, eDrugstore.com may be just the supplier you’re looking for. Part of the Secure Medical family of online drugstores, eDrugstore sources all of the medications it sells from licensed U.S. pharmacies.

If you have a prescription from your primary care physician, you can fax or scan and email it to eDrugstore along with your order. If you don’t yet have a prescription and are a bit reluctant to broach the topic of your impotence with a doctor, eDrugstore can arrange an online consultation with one of its contract physicians. You will be required to fill out an online questionnaire that documents your health history, current complaints, and lists all medications that you’re taking.

If the consulting physician feels that you are a good candidate for one of the PDE5 inhibitors, he or she will then write a prescription so that you can order the drug directly from eDrugstore.

Don Amerman is a freelance author who writes extensively about a wide array of nutrition and health-related topics.

 

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+