Could Botox kill cancer?

It can freeze your face so no one knows if you’re happy, sad, or apocalyptic, treat migraines, and stop sweating. Now it seems that Botox could also be used to treat cancer. Not bad for something derived from one of the deadliest poisons on the planet.

As the BBC reports, scientists from Columbia University Medical Centre in New York and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have just published a study in Science Translational Medicine that suggests that Botox could be used to treat stomach cancer.

In tests on mice, the researchers discovered that it halted tumour growth and increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy. This is because it disrupts nerve function, and signals from the nerves appear to encourage this type of cancer cell to grow. It’s also thought that prostate cancer might spread in a similar way.

Cancer Research UK has expressed scepticism that this might become a widespread treatment, noting that cancer can be too complex for any one miracle solution. But scientists have now begun human trials in patients with stomach cancer and say that even if Botox doesn’t make a revolutionary new treatment in its own right, it seems likely that it might be a way to improve the success rate of existing treatments. Pretty ironic that such a renowned wrinkle-freezer could be giving lots of patients something to smile about.

Image via Oceanview Medical Weight Loss Spa’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley