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Could Botox jabs help tackle prostate cancer?

by , 14 November 2013

Researchers are investigating a new technique to help boost the fight against prostate cancer. They're researching the toxin, best known for ‘freezing' wrinkles for its effects on cancer and the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. It so common, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, says FSP Health.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Researchers believe Botox jabs could help tackle prostate cancer.

The link between Botox injections and prostate cancer explained

Botox works by blocking the effect of nerves and researchers believe it could be used to target the nerves supplying tumours. Early research has shown that tumour cells shrivel when the prostate gland is injected with Botox, Mail Online reports.

According to the report, the treatment is being tested on men with localised cancer (where the disease has not spread beyond the prostate gland) in a clinical trial at Texas University. Half the gland will be injected with Botox and the other with saline.

When injected, the toxin, best known for ‘freezing’ wrinkles, causes tumour cells in the prostate gland to shrivel

The 15 men on the trial are scheduled to have radical prostatectomy - surgery to remove the prostate - at a later date. After the surgery, the cancer cells will be compared to measure the effects of Botox.

Mail Online reports that early results from three patients on the trial show the side of the tumour injected with Botox had shrivelled significantly; the other side had not.

Researchers say Botox could have similar effects on other types of solid cancers.

How does the Botox jab work?

Researchers believe the jab works by relaxing the nerves and muscle in the prostate, easing pressure on the urethra to make urinary flow easier.

In the report, Professor Raj Persad, consultant in urology-oncology at North Bristol NHS Trust says that “for the treatment of enlarged prostate, it will be interesting to see the results.”

Botox jabs have also been shown to work for enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Persad added, “For the treatment of men with prostate cancer, it’s so straightforward. It’s not known how Botox could exert an effect on cancer cells. It may deprive them of nerve elements crucial to their survival, but more research is needed to look at the effectiveness and to compare outcomes with the existing treatments.”

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