October 5, 2010
Scientists Develop New Botox Treatment For Pain
British scientists have developed a new way of joining and rebuilding molecules to refine the anti-wrinkle treatment Botox and improve its use for Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, and chronic migraine.
Researchers at the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology said their results opens up new ways to help develop new types of Botox, which may be used as long-term painkillers.
"It will now be possible to produce Botox-based medicines in a safer and more economical way," Bazbek Davletov, who led the study, said in a statement about his findings.
The researchers said in a report of work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal that by breaking down Botox molecules into two separate buildings blocks, the team was able to produce them separately and safely, and then "clip" them back together again.
They said the new clipping method produced a refined Botox-like molecule, which could eventually be a practical use without the unwanted toxic effects.
Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin, commonly known as Botox, has been used increasingly as a medical treatment, in which doctors exploit its ability to relax muscles and nerves to try and still spasms and tremors like those in patients with Parkinson's disease.
Britain became the first country to approve the drug as a treatment for migraine in July.
However, the substance is extremely toxic and can only be used in a diluted form, a factor that limits its development for other uses.
Davletov said the new refining technique could allow scientists to produce new forms of Botox with wider practical medicinal uses.
"This is the first time we have been able to treat protein molecules like Lego building blocks, mixing and matching them to create the basis for treatments that would not previously have been possible," he said in a statement.
He said that the method could potentially allow researchers to develop a form of chronic pain relief, which could last as long as a single Botox injection.
On the Net:
- Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences