Blocking Nerve Signals With Botox May Shrink Stomach Cancers
New York, NY — Research from Columbia University Medical Center shows that nerves may play a critical role in stomach cancer growth and that blocking nerve signals using surgery or Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA) could be an effective treatment for the disease. The study was conducted by the laboratory of Timothy C. Wang, MD, in collaboration with Duan Chen, MD, PhD, in Norway and is published in Science Translational Medicine.
“Scientists have long observed that human and mouse cancers contain a lot of nerves in and around the tumor cells,” said Dr. Wang, the Dorothy L. and Daniel H. Silberberg Professor of Medicine at Columbia’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We wanted to understand more about the role of nerves in the initiation and growth of cancer, by focusing on stomach cancer.”
Stomach cancer is the fourth-leading type of cancer and the second-highest contributor to cancer mortality worldwide, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 25 percent.
Using three different mouse models of stomach cancer, Dr. Wang’s team found that when they performed a procedure called a vagotomy to cut the nerves, the surgery significantly slowed tumor growth and increased survival rates. Removing nerve connections from only one side of the stomach allowed cancer to continue growing on the other side (with the intact nerves), providing further evidence of the importance of nerves in tumor growth. Continue>
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