A New Type of Botox Discovered

Different Types of Botox

Botulinum toxin type A, known commercially as Botox, has had a number of therapeutic applications over the past 20 years. It’s been used for treatment of migraines, overactive bladders, excessive sweating, and cardiac conditions. Botulinum toxin Type A, as we know, is a neurotoxic protein with the ability to remove wrinkles yet cause food poisoning. Derived from Clostridium botulinum and its relatives, this protein is often found in soil and untreated water.

This time a new source of the botulinum neurotoxin was discovered, the first time that an active botulinum toxin has been identified outside of Clostridium botulinum and its cluster. Canadian and American scientists found it in a strain of animal gut bacteria known as Enterococcus faecium.

This has implications in several fields, from emergence of new pathogens to the development of new protein to be used in therapeutics. The discovery came out of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and Harvard University and the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Originally, the study was about investigating why there is antibiotic resistance in Enterococcus faecium. The species can be both friendly and harmful. It can coexist with other bacteria in human and animal gut and can also be pathogenic, causing diseases such as neonatal meningitis or endocarditis. If disease-causing, the bacterium is very difficult to eradicate as it has capabilities to mutate, causing multidrug antibiotic resistance. It has its own genome sequencing or DNA sequencing that can make science better understand how it develops and maintains.

In this study, the researchers were able to sequence the genome of the E. faecium bacteria that came from cow feces, and when run through computer programs in the lab, they found the gene for botulinum toxin in the bacterial strain. It must have been likely transferred from C. botulinum bacteria in the environment into the E. faecium bacteria in the cow’s gut, showing that the toxin can be transferred between very different species. More studies are needed to expand the usage of this strain of botulinum toxin, now confirmed to be a powerful and versatile protein therapeutic, and there might be more versions of the toxin in nature.

Seeing More Applications of Botox in the Future

The Botox strain is indeed a powerful and versatile species, with still more undiscovered therapeutic benefits. The future looks bright for Botox and our staff at Botixue in Tacoma are just as excited about future developments.