New research has revealed that Botox injections could play a role in treating stomach cancer; the anti-wrinkle treatment slows tumour growth by blocking nerve signals that stimulate the cancer stem cells. Lab tests have shown that the toxin has proven to be ‘highly effective’ at suppressing the cancer in mice; early clinical trials are set to launch in Norway soon, following the promising results of the study.
Lead researcher Dr Timothy Wang, from Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, said that the study was designed to help the team ‘understand more about the role of nerves in the initiation and growth of cancer, by focusing on stomach cancer.’
The scientists found that ‘blocking the nerve signals makes the cancer cells more vulnerable – it removes one of the key factors that regulate their growth.’ Co-author Professor Duan Chen, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, called the effects of the toxin ‘remarkable’ and added that the researchers themselves were surprised and excited by the results of their experiments with Botox. He added ‘We believe this treatment is a good treatment because it can be used locally and it targets the cancer stem cells. The Botox can be injected through gastroscopy (a thin tube inserted into the stomach down the throat) and it only requires the patient to stay in the hospital for a few hours.’