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Botox may help fight cancer, study says

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(REUTERS/Jim Young)

It’s usually used to fight signs of aging, but Botox may actually help fight cancer, BBC News reported.

The toxin, which disrupts nerve function to relax muscles and even out wrinkles, could stop the growth of stomach tumors and make them more responsive to chemotherapy. Research published in Science Translational Medicine investigated the role of the vagus nerve— which goes from the brain to the digestive system— in stomach cancer.

In their mice study, they found that either cutting the nerve or using Botox would slow tumor growth or make them more vulnerable to chemotherapy.

"If you just cut nerves is it going to cure cancer? Probably not,” study author Dr. Timothy Wang told BBC News. “At least in early phase, if you [disrupt the nerve], the tumor becomes much more responsive to chemotherapy, so we don't see this as a single cure, but making current and future treatments more effective."

Researchers noted that the findings were a long way from becoming a treatment.

"With everything new in cancer, even if it looks great, when you start to roll it out to patients it always seems cancer is smarter than we are,” Wang said. "Tumors have the ability to out-evolve any single agent, knocking one leg of a stool is probably not going to topple it. But I think this has a lot of potential, and in a decade or two, I can see these pathways being targeted."

Click for more from BBC News.