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Scripps scientists discover therapeutic uses for botox

Botox is best known for its cosmetic use in getting rid of wrinkles. But scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla have made a discovery that could expand its use in treating more serious problems. KPBS reporter Beth Ford Roth has the story.

The botulinum neurotoxin is best known as Botox, an injection that paralyzes facial muscles and smoothes wrinkles. Research has suggested it may also be useful in treating ailments like stroke, migraines, and multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Kim Janda from the Scripps Research Institute has discovered a method to drastically increase the toxin's potency. That could make it a more effective therapy in treating illness.

Janda: We've discovered these small molecules that somehow bind to the active portion of botulinum neurotoxin, and it changes its form in some way to make it much more highly active.

The Botulinum neurotoxin is considered the most toxic substance on earth. Beth Ford Roth, KPBS News.

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