Can Botox Fight Cancer?

Botox and Cancer

Cosmetic injection of botoxWhether you’ve had Botox treatment or not, you’re probably familiar with its wrinkle-smoothing powers. A purified type of botulinum toxin type A, Botox is injected into the facial muscles to relax them and even out wrinkles and lines. It works by blocking the nerve signals and weakening the muscles so they cannot contract. This results in fewer wrinkles and a refreshed appearance.

Scientists Test New Use for Botox

BBC, Fox News and other outlets recently reported on a potentially exciting new use for Botox: fighting cancer.

Botox, which is also FDA approved to treat migraines, muscle spasms and excessive sweating, could be used in the future to halt the development of stomach tumors and make them more vulnerable to chemotherapy.

Stomach cancer is traditionally difficult to treat because gastric tumors do not respond well to chemotherapy. Also, nerve signaling can stimulate tumor formation.

Teams from Columbia University Medical Center and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology set out to determine whether Botox could block these nerve signals. In their research, they found that Botox injections did stop the growth of new tumors in mice with advanced stomach cancer.

They looked at the role of the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the digestive system. Previous studies showed that severing these nerves could halt cancer growth in mice; scientists point out that this is an invasive treatment option. The latest study suggested that paralyzing the vagus nerves with Botox injections could provide the same benefit (albeit temporarily).

One of the scientists, Dr. Timothy Wang, told the BBC: “At least in the early phase, if you [disrupt the nerve] the tumor becomes much more responsive to chemotherapy, so we don’t see this as a single cure, but making current and future treatments more effective.”

The next step is to test Botox on people who have chemotherapy-resistant gastric ulcers.

“I think this has a lot of potential and in a decade or two I can see these pathways being targeted,” said Dr. Wang.

Botox Continues to Be Used Cosmetically

While Botox undergoes further testing as a potential cancer treatment, it will continue to be used to reduce the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles. At the South Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery, we can help you look younger, happier and more rested with Botox injections.

Please contact us at (954) 565-7575 to schedule a consultation to discuss Botox and other facial rejuvenation treatment options.

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