Scientists have combined elements of Botox and tetanus in a potential treatment for chronic pain and epilepsy.
A team led by Professor Bazbek Davletov, now at the University of Sheffield, created and characterized a new molecule that can alleviate hypersensitivity to inflammatory pain.
By using elements of Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium tetani neurotoxins, the scientists were able to develop a molecule with new biomedical properties, without unwanted toxic effects.
While the Botox element is able to block neuronal communication—and therefore pain signals—for months, the tetanus component targets the central nervous system very effectively.
Botox and tetanus neurotoxins hold great promise for clinical applications, but their paralytic activity was a stumbling block until now. The team demonstrated that their newly engineered molecule is a potent non-paralyzing neuronal blocker. Their findings appear in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry.
“Currently painkillers relieve lingering pain only temporarily and often have unwanted side effects,” adds Davletov. “A single injection of the new molecule at the site of pain could potentially relieve pain for many months in humans and this now needs to be tested.
“We hope that the engineered molecule could improve the quality of life for those people who suffer from chronic pain. We are now negotiating transfer of the technology to a major pharmaceutical company.”
Davletov joined the department of biomedical science in September last year from the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.
Source: University of Sheffield