Beyond Botox: Natural born killer or medical miracle?

March 15, 2013, University of Lincoln
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

Researchers illustrate how muscle growth inhibitor is activated, could aid in treating ALS

January 19, 2018
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine are part of an international team that has identified how the inactive or latent form of GDF8, a signaling protein also known as myostatin responsible for ...

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

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.