Botox has been out for a long time, but it might need another look as to its safety thanks to a study done in rats on a related substance. From the story:
Botulinum neurotoxin type A, sold as Allergan Inc.’s Botox remedy for wrinkles, can move from its injection site to the brain, a study shows.
Scientists injected rats’ whisker muscles with botulism toxin. Tests of the rodents’ brain tissue found that botulism had been transported to the brain stems, the researchers said in the Journal of Neuroscience published April 2.
Botox is Allergan’s biggest product, with $1.21 billion in sales last year. The drug, approved in 1989, became fashionable among aging celebrities seeking to smooth facial wrinkles and is used to treat some neurological disorders. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether patients contracted botulism, a muscle-weakening illness, from Botox and Myobloc, a product from Solstice Neurosciences Inc.
Animal rights advocates often say that animal work does not provide benefits because there isn’t a direct correlation between how an animal reacts to that of a human. But that isn’t the point since animal studies are not expected to show direct correlations but propensities. Thus, studies like this are important because they show a possible problem that can’t be studied in humans in the same way. For example, based on this, scientists may wish to test it in monkeys, which are more similar. And indeed, some of that work has already been done:
Rats and monkeys are dying to keep people from suffering severe potential health consequences. This is the kind of thing animal rightists want to shut down. But these studies need living organisms to produce results. That means either animals or humans, and you can’t do it to us because the subjects have to be killed so their brains can be studied. At least, that is what people who don’t believe in animal rights believe. Ingrid Newkirk, on the other hand, believes that a rat, is a pig, is a dog, is a boy.
Myobloc is botulinum neurotoxin type B, a different type of botulinum than studied, said Edgar Salazar-Grueso, chief medical officer of Solstice Neurosciences, in a telephone interview today.
“We are aware from monkey studies already published that toxin A migrates more than B,” Salazar said. “Monkeys are more like humans than rodents, so these findings we’re observing are consistent.”