Botox- for cancer patients? What?? Yes, you read that right. Botox is commonly known for use in plastic surgery applications. But it may soon have clinical applications for patients suffering from chronic pain!
Botox’s main component is a bacterial poison called botulinum. It works by blocking signaling between muscles and nerve cells, which is useful for cosmetic injections because it stops muscles from moving and wrinkles from developing. Botox can also have pain-relieving qualities, but there is some concern that if Botox is used for pain relief, patients might suffer from paralysis in the area in question.
But now, researchers have combined the pain-relieving elements of Botox with elements of the tetanus bug in such a way that it can stop pain signals sent between the spinal cord and the brain- basically taking the best parts of the two molecules and using them for good. This makes this new drug a potentially useful pain medication for cancer patients as well as others suffering from chronic pain.
As animal trials have been successful, it looks like this new drug could be available in as soon as 3 years! Check out the link below to learn more.
Biomedical research in mice doesn’t just help humans- it can also benefit our four-legged companions. Stem cell therapy- using stem cells derived from the patient’s own fat- is extremely effective in treating arthritis in dogs, cats and horses. Take a look at this video, showing the improvement in a dog suffering from arthritis. This clip is from a Dogs 101 episode featured on Animal Planet about the Bearded Collie. Pay special attention to the footage between 2:15 and 5:30!
These results offer hope to human patients as well. Clinical trials are currently underway, and some doctors are already offering treatments using fat-derived stem cells to humans. A benefit of using stem cells derived from the patient’s own fat is that there is almost no chance of rejection- it comes from their own body! If you didn’t catch my earlier post about a new stem cell therapy in mice that is actually treating Alzheimer’s, scroll down to read “Alzheimer’s Disease: Can your FAT cure it?”
And stay tuned- with these results, it will be exciting to see what else fat-derived stem cells can do!