Drug Target For The Most Potent Botulinum Neurotoxin Determined

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 17:35 in Health & Medicine

Botulinum neurotoxin -- responsible for the deadly food poisoning disease botulism and for the beneficial effects of smoothing out facial wrinkles - can also be used as a dreaded biological weapon. When ingested or inhaled, less than a billionth of an ounce can cause muscle paralysis and eventual death. Although experimental vaccines administered prior to exposure can inhibit the destructive action of this neurotoxin - the most deadly protein known to humans -- no effective pharmacological treatment exists. Scientists have now taken the first step toward designing an effective antidote to the most potent form of botulinum neurotoxin.

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