Over the past number of years, Botox has become one of the most popular anti-aging treatments on the market today. It is a $1.3 billion market that tackles wrinkles and is used by millions of patients across the globe. On top of its anti-aging effects, it is also considered to be a depression fighter, according to a study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.
Since there are several benefits to using Botox, can it also assist in the fight against cancer? A recent clinical trial at the University of Texas suggested that Botox injections could be the tool to combat prostate cancer. The treatment is currently being tested on men with localized cancer where the disease has yet to spread beyond the prostate gland. Therefore, half the gland will be injected with Botox while the other will be inserted with saline.
Botox is best known for blocking the effect of nerves and now scientists are attempting to target the nerves that supply the body with tumors. Essentially, it would settle down the nerves and muscle in the prostate and ease pressure on the urethra to ensure the urinary flow is easier.
Preliminary studies have discovered that tumor cells contract when the prostate gland is injected with Botox. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), these prostate gland cells are the primary culprit for producing prostate fluid that is then added to a man’s semen.
Throughout the clinical trials, there are 15 male participants. They are scheduled to undergo radical prostatectomy and once the surgery is completed then the cancer cells will be compared by medical professionals to conclude if there are any positive effects with Botox injections.
“For the treatment of enlarged prostate, it will be interesting to see the results,” said Professor Raj Persad, consultant in urology-oncology at North Bristol National Health Service Trust, in an interview with the Daily Mail. “For the treatment of men with prostate cancer, it is not so straightforward. It is 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.”
Other institutions have tried similar tests. For instance, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that three-quarters of male participants jabbed with Botox had shown easing of their reported symptoms. The researchers stated at the time, according to the Independent Online, that one Botox injection that takes five minutes can be effective for patients for one year.
Another Harvard University study had used Botox injections for women with pelvic pain, a condition whereby women feel dull or sharp pains in the lowest part of their abdomen or pelvis – men can also be diagnosed with pelvic pain. Nearly 80 percent of the female participants had reported diminishing pain after just one injection. Around half of the women had signed up for an additional Botox jab within four months.