Botox could help to slow the growth of stomach cancer, and may eventually be used as a treatment. The news comes after a recent animal study, involving mice with the cancer. However, the American Cancer Society deputy chief medical officer Dr. Len Lichtenfeld does not seem too optimistic.
Lichtenfeld points out that many other animal studies have not shown positive results, and there have been plenty of them. However, he just wants the right clinical trials to happen to see if it will work on humans. Really, he just hopes that nobody will start using the wrinkle fighting process as the only treatment for their stomach cancer.
This cancer, also called gastric cancer, is expected to kill 11,000 patients in the U.S. this year. It is one of those “silent killers” as the symptoms are not often noticeable until it is in its advanced stages. Patients usually need chemotherapy and in some cases surgery to remove the tumors and fight the cancer. This is why it is so important for patients to continue with their treatment now rather than hope that the animal studies will really translate in the way hoped in human patients.
Another issue is the rising obesity rates. This and the rise in number of people with reflux disease has led to different types of gastric cancer being found. It can also cause problems for detecting the cancer, and make treatment harder. While the rates are lower than other cancers, they are higher in the U.S. than in Japan and Southeast Asia.
The good news is that the early signs that show stomach cancer could be slowed by Botox has led to an early clinical trial that will use human patients. This trial will take place in Norway and will involved the Botox being injected into localized areas.
According to the animal trial, the Botox mirrors the “vagotomy” effect. This is when parts of the gastric vagus nerve are surgically removed to help regulate digestion and other processes. The Botox was made from the botulism bacteria toxin, which showed to be highly effective at slowing down the growth of tumors as it would block the nerve signals that would usually stimulate the cancerous cells. Blocking the nerve signals cuts off one of the factors needed, according to Dr. Timothy Wang, the lead author in the study.
If Botox works for fighting against cancer, it could prove to be extremely beneficial. Not only is this a simpler and easier treatment for patients, it is less toxic. However, the researchers do suggest that combining this and chemotherapy would offer the best treatment option for those with gastric cancer.
The animal study was only carried out on gastric cancer so far, but there is hope that it could help other types of cancers in the future. This clinical trial on human needs to be positive before any further work can be carried out.
Many may be happy to hear that there could be a new option to fight this silent killer. It will be certainly interesting if stomach cancer can be slowed and even cured by Botox.
By Alexandria Ingham