Beyond Botox: Natural born killer or medical miracle?

March 15, 2013
Beyond Botox: natural born killer or medical miracle?

Botox is best known for its use in cosmetic procedures, but this potent neurotoxin could be transformed into an extraordinary drug to treat a raft of debilitating conditions, a leading scientist will tell an audience at the University of Lincoln.

Synthesised by , botox is the most known to man, however, in tiny doses it is widely used as an effective anti-aging treatment. In injection form the toxin blocks the signals that tell muscles to contract, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Now scientists are working to expand the toxin's potential as a prodigious drug that could be used for the treatment of disorders such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's and chronic migraine.

A scientist from the University of Lincoln (UK), who is working on refining the botox protein, will talk about its use in treating a broad range of neurological disorders in a free public lecture on 19th March, 2013.

Dr Enrico Ferrari, from the University's School of Life Sciences, will also reveal the future avenues for turning this natural born killer into a .

He said: "Many painkillers relieve pain temporarily and have various side effects. The selling point of this molecule is that the pain relief could last up to seven months, in a similar way that last for several months. Engineering this kind of toxin has many uses and would be a major improvement in the quality of life for those people who suffer from chronic pain."

Dr Ferrari joined the University in October 2012 after spending three years working with a group at the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

Led by Professor Bazbek Davletov, the team developed a new way of joining and rebuilding elements of the clostridium in a way that eliminated the unwanted toxic effects. In its natural state 150 would be enough to kill a person.

Dr Ferrari said: "The re-engineered toxin has very similar characteristics so is still able to block neurotransmission release, but the paralytic effect is a lot less because we have discovered a way to impede the toxin from reaching the muscles."

The lecture entitled Beyond Botox: molecular engineering and the design of new therapeutics takes place at 6pm on Tuesday, 19th March at the University of Lincoln's EMMTEC auditorium. Registration starts at 5.30pm.

A review paper entitled 'Presynaptic neurotoxins: An expanding array of natural and modified molecules' by Bazbek Davletov, Enrico Ferrari and Yuri Ushkaryov was published in the September/October 2012 edition of Cell Calcium.

Explore further: Don't let botox go to your head…or should you?

More information: Go to www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0143416012000942 to view the full paper.

Related Stories

Don't let botox go to your head…or should you?

January 8, 2013
Injecting botox into the arm muscles of stroke survivors, with severe spasticity, changes electrical activity in the brain and may assist with longer-term recovery, according to new research.

Australians trial Botox to treat hay fever

October 9, 2012
The best-selling wrinkle erasing drug Botox will be used in an Australian study to treat hay fever, researchers said Tuesday after it showed promise in providing relief in early trials.

US approves Botox for bladder control

August 24, 2011
The face-freezing pharmaceutical injection Botox gained another medical use on Wednesday when the US government approved it for use in some patients with overactive bladder.

Botox injections associated with only modest benefit for chronic migraine and daily headaches

April 24, 2012
Although botulinum toxin A ("Botox") injections are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for preventive treatment for chronic migraines, a review and analysis of previous studies finds a small to modest benefit for ...

Recommended for you

Molecular hitchhiker on human protein signals tumors to self-destruct

July 24, 2017
Powerful molecules can hitch rides on a plentiful human protein and signal tumors to self-destruct, a team of Vanderbilt University engineers found.

New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy

July 24, 2017
A new way of producing the seasonal flu vaccine could speed up the process and provide better protection against infection.

Researchers develop new method to generate human antibodies

July 24, 2017
An international team of scientists has developed a method to rapidly produce specific human antibodies in the laboratory. The technique, which will be described in a paper to be published July 24 in The Journal of Experimental ...

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.