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Botox could be used to help Shrink Cancer Tumors

February 15th, 2006

Botox could be used to help Shrink Cancer Tumors


Botox may be used as part of the treatment of Cancer in the near future.  A research study from the Université de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium, led by Bernard Gallez, Ph.D., have been one of the first to explore how Botox could be used to treat cancer patients. 

First reported in the February 15th issue of Clinical Cancer Research, the results were hopeful.  When the Botox (Botulinum neurotoxin type A) was injected into two different kinds of tumors in mice, it caused the tumors’ cellular vasculature to open.  This improved circulation of the tumor made it more effective at killing off the cancer cells when using traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

These are preliminary studies in mice and more research will need to be conducted.  The researchers hope that it will be used together with chemotherapy to make the treatment more effective and killing of the cancer.


Having an opening in the blood vessels that feed the tumor is not the focus on most research.  This is a unique approach in better delivering the chemotherapy and radiation to a tumor.  A lot of research focus on exactly the opposite, how to cut off the circulation by reducing the blood vessel growth and causing the tumors to starve and not thrive.

"Tumor vasculature is targeted by several advanced anti-cancer approaches that may appear contradictory," said Gallez. "Anti-angiogenesis and anti-vascular targeting are methods aimed at destroying the vessels that feed tumors, thereby depriving them of oxygen and nutrients.  In contrast, pro-vascular approaches increase tumor perfusion and oxygenation temporarily."

There has been a phenomenon lately with a patient’s tumor cells becoming increasingly resistant to chemotherapy.  To compensate for the resistance the dosage of chemotherapy and radiation increased.  There is also an increased demand for developing new drugs that will be more effective because of the resistance.


Botox has two other treatments, one as a muscle relaxant, and the other for cosmetic procedures for wrinkles.  Botox is a Botulinum toxin and is a molecule that is found in nature.  The Botox causes the muscles to be paralyzed and will relax the tissue around it.  People with facial spasms and strabismus (an eye muscle disease) were some of the first to be treated with Botox.  It was noticed that the wrinkles disappeared around the treated areas and Botox soon became a well known cosmetic procedure.

The researchers believe that the Botulinum toxin helps to relax the neuromuscular contractions in the vessels of the tumor.  By opening up the vessels, it allows the chemotherapy to be delivered to the tumor more effectively.

The two types of tumors in this study were fibrosarcoma and liver tumor in the mice.  Once the tumor grew to around 6 millimeters the scientists injected Botox into the tumor.  For the next 3 days the scientists watched for changes in the vessels of the tumor and watched how the tumor responded to anti-cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.  They measured the cellular oxygen pressure and there was a significant increase when the Botox was injected.  They also used magnetic resonance imaging results (MRI) to measure the perfusion which was also greatly improved with the mice three days after the Botox treatment.  The scientists used a combination of Botox and chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide and found that after 3 days the tumors growth was considerably stunted.


The researchers hope to be able to use the Botox in trials soon.  They anticipate that it could happen soon as Botox has already been shown to not have serious toxicity in humans.  The trials will determine if Botox will be a better treatment of cancer in the future.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

 Books on Cancer

  Keywords and misspellings: canser cancar bo tox bowtox tumour toumor shink tumour blood vasculer system impede liver cancere reserch

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM