Botox may be useful in treating stomach cancers

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“Botox may have cancer fighting role,” BBC News reports after research involving mice found using Botox to block nerve signals to the stomach may help slow the growth of stomach cancers. Botox, short for botulinum toxin, is a powerful neurotoxin that can block nerve signals.

The researchers studied genetically modified mice designed to develop stomach cancer as they grew older.

They found that mice treated with Botox injections had improved survival rates, because the cancer spread at a reduced rate or was prevented from developing in the first place.

Cutting the nerve supply to the stomach during an operation called a vagotomy had a similar effect.

In mice that had already developed stomach cancer, Botox injections reduced cancer growth and improved survival rates when combined with chemotherapy.

Further studies of human stomach cancer samples confirmed the finding that nerves play a role in tumour growth.

An early-phase human trial is now underway in Norway to determine the safety of such a procedure and to work out how many people would need to be treated in trials, to see whether the treatment is effective.

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