By allowing lower doses, the new approach could also make the treatment safer by reducing the risk of complications associated with immune system recognition that can sometimes occur with frequent injections, according to scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. Smaller, more potent doses may even lead to lower prices for the popular wrinkle-remover, the researchers say. Their study is published in the March 29 issue of the weekly Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Although popular for removing wrinkles, Botox is also used to treat a growing number of other conditions, including migraine headaches, lazy eyes and excessive sweating. It is developed from the botulinum neurotoxin, the most lethal poison known and a potential bioterrorist weapon. In a medical setting, small doses of a purified version of the toxin block the release of a chemical (acetylcholine) that signals muscle contraction, resulting in a localized, temporary paralysis that erases wrinkles and unwanted muscle spasms.
Kim Janda, Ph.D., a chemistry professor at Scripps and head of the research study, and his associates developed a synthetic molecule that can ‘superactivate’ the neurotoxin used in Botox by binding to specific sites on the neurotoxin protein. The synthetic molecule works by increasing the activity of an enzyme that cleaves proteins that are critical for neurotransmitter release, thereby increasing the blockage of acetylcholine and enhancing the toxin’s paralyzing effect. In laboratory studies, the researchers found that this ‘superactivator’ could boost the activity of the toxin by as much as 14 times that of the untreated toxin.
The new treatment has not yet been tested in humans or animals, the researchers say. If further studies prove successful, the technique could be available to consumers in four to six years, the researchers estimate.
"We have developed a synthetic molecule that binds to the toxin and increases its normal function," Janda says. "The discovery of small molecule activators may ultimately provide a valuable method for minimizing dosage, reducing resistance, and increasing its clinical efficacy."
One possible complication of Botox injections is that their repeated use can lead to recognition by the immune system, especially when patients are given frequent, high doses of the toxin. Higher doses can also increase the risk of adverse complications, which can include pain in the face, redness at the injection site and muscle weakness. The new ‘superactivator’ formula could allow lower doses to be administered — roughly one-tenth the normal dose — while reducing the possibility of unwanted immune complications, Janda and his associates say. Botox injections should always be performed by a qualified doctor, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Cells communicate in a dynamic code
19.02.2018 | California Institute of Technology
Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells
19.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences