Botox the latest weapon in the fight against cancer

By Efrosini Costa

Botox the latest weapon in the fight against cancer
Botox injections may help in the fight against cancer, animal tests have shown.

The toxin is most commonly used cosmetically to help, those seeking a wrinkle-free complexion, freeze the signs of ageing.

But scientists believe that Botox could be helpful in freezing cancer growth too.

Tests on mice found the toxin could help kill the nerves that help stomach cancers grow, making the cancer more vulnerable to chemotherapy.

The  Botulinum toxin works by disrupting nerve function allowing muscles to relax and cutting off the tumour from it’s ‘supply’.

Scientists from New York’s Columbia University Medical Centre in cooperation with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim used Botox to

interrupt the role of the vagus nerve – which runs from the brain to the digestive system.

“If you [disrupt the nerve] the tumour becomes much more responsive to chemotherapy, so we don’t see this as a single cure, but making current and future treatments more effective,” one of the study’s scientists said.

So if you cut the nerves to the tumour will this cure the cancer?

Probably not the researchers say, but it could assist other treatments in the fight against cancer the study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, shows.

“Tumours have the ability to out-evolve any single agent, knocking one leg of a stool is probably not going to topple it,” the research spokesperson said.

“But I think this has a lot of potential and in a decade or two I can see these pathways being targeted,” he added.

Some early trials have already started in those who are having surgery to remove stomach cancer and other research suggests nerves may play a similar role in prostate cancer too.


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