A clinical trial is to begin soon after a study revealed that Botox, which is used by many to smooth wrinkles, can also be used in the treatment of asthma.
Researchers at Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne plan to inject Botox, or botulinum toxin, into the vocal cords of severe asthmatics in an attempt to relieve their attacks of breathlessness.
AdvertisementThe world-first clinical trial will involve about 30 participants receiving single Botox injections within the next few months.
The researchers hope the Botox will effectively "reboot" their voice boxes, allowing the muscles to relax and remove any feelings of breathlessness.
"We don't think this will cure these asthmatics but it will help them to live better with asthma," the Age quoted Phil Bardin, Monash Medical Centre's director of respiratory and sleep medicine, as saying.
"They won't have asthma symptoms which make them unable to walk far or go up stairs or when their chest tightens up they think they are going to die. It will help them live with an illness that disables them," he explained.
Bardin said the researchers decided to go ahead with the trials after scans revealed how the voice boxes of severe asthmatics often went into spasm.
Some asthmatics in the past have tried to retrain their vocal cords to try to relieve their breathlessness. But Bardin believes Botox could be an easier solution.
The trial will last about a year, with the Botox injections expected to wear off within three months.