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Can Botox treat Cancer?

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Botox has been extensively used in the medical aesthetics for reversing the signs of ageing that include wrinkles and fine lines while in medicine botox is used for treating wide range of physical problems including excessive sweating, muscle spasms, uncontrollable muscle movements and chronic migraines. Botox basically works by blocking the nerve transmission which causes a temporary paralysis of underlying muscles. Due to interruption in the transmission of nerve impulses to the target muscle, it relaxes and stops working for a certain period of time until the effects of Botox wear off.

How Botox can prove to be effective in treating cancer?

Scientists found that signals from the nerves that exist in and around the cancer cells seems to stimulate the growth of the cancerous cells. Researchers conducted a study to check if botox treatment can help in treating cancer on mice. The researchers tried out four different methods for cutting the link between the nerves and the cancerous tumour: surgically cutting off the gastric vagus nerve, by locally injecting Botox for blocking the transmission of neurotransmitters emitted from vagus nerve, by giving medication in order to inhibit the receptors from neurotransmitters and by eliminating the receptor gene. All these procedures repressed the tumour growth. Out of these, the effects of Botox were outstanding.

The scientists administered Botox locally that interrupted the signals transmitted from nervous system that were found to be responsible for the development of cancer cells. This further slowed down the growth of cancerous tumour. Botox also helped in making cancer more responsive to the other treatments such as chemotherapy. When a combination treatment of Botox and chemotherapy was used, scientists reported an increase of 35% in the survival rates (source:Zhao, C., Hayakawa, Y., Kodama, Y., Muthupalani, S., Westphalen, C., Andersen, G., et al. (2014). Denervation suppresses gastric tumorigenesis Science Translational Medicine, 6 (250), 250-250. http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/6/250/250ra115).

Botox is far cheaper and also less toxic in comparison to other aggressive treatments for cancer and has far less side effects. As the tests of Botox on animals with cancerous tumour turned out to be positive, according to report of Daily Telegraph and Gemini the II phase clinical trials on human participants are initiated in Norway.

Can it only treat Stomach Cancer?

The early study has been conducted with a specific focus on the early stage stomach cancer tumour but the researchers are hopeful that further studies and researches into this realm would extend botox treatment to numerous other forms of cancers especially for prostate cancer.

Further investigations needed!

Though the findings seem to be encouraging but there is a need of further studies in finding the role of Botox treatment in cancer. However, Botox can be taken as an additional treatment for the cancer patients who suffer from inoperable and irremovable stomach cancer or for patients who no longer respond to the chemotherapy treatment or who cannot be given chemotherapy or who are meticulous about receiving the chemotherapy treatment and do not want to receive it.

Sources used:

http://www.livescience.com/47468-botox-stomach-cancer.html

http://www.theweek.co.uk/health-science/60058/botox-how-the-treatment-can-be-used-to-treat-cancer

http://gemini.no/en/2014/08/treating-cancer-with-botox/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2729972/Botox-used-new-treatment-stomach-cancer-experts-say.html

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