According to latest news wires, the cosmetic treatment Botox may have a new use as an adjuvant to cancer therapy, providing an open door for chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Abnormalities in the tumour vascular network are considered factors of resistance in solid tumours to cytotoxic treatments. To increase the efficacy of anti-cancer treatments, efforts are being made to find new strategies for transiently opening the tumor vascular bed to alleviate tumour hypoxia (source of resistance to radiotherapy) and improve the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents.
The article was published in Clinical Cancer Research on Feb 15. Here’s the link for those of you who are interested:
The authors hypothesized that Botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNT-A) could interfere with neurotransmitter release at the perivascular sympathetic varicosities, leading to inhibition of the neurogenic contractions of tumour vessels and therefore improving tumor perfusion and oxygenation.
They tested this elegant theory in mice and found injected Botulinum neurotoxin type A opened tumor cellular vasculature in two types of mouse tumours, allowing for more effective destruction of cancer cells.
It will be interesting to whether this concept will translate into clinical practice and if it will produce the same effect in humans, who often have much bigger and less accessible tumours than mice. But botox for cancer patients? Sure sounds like a cool approach that’s worth trying…