As little as two decades ago, deliberately injecting botulinum toxin into patients would have seemed foolhardy at best and criminal at worst. The increased clinical use of botulinum toxins has expanded the body of knowledge available on the structure and function of these proteins. This knowledge can be applied to topics as varied as therapies based on the endopeptidase activity of the toxins, vaccine development, protection against botulism, and vectors for neuronal drug delivery. Based on recent scientific and clinical information from top international authorities, Treatments from Toxins: The Therapeutic Potential of Clostridial Neurotoxins reviews the status of current research and development and identifies significant developments.
Drawing on their vast experience in this field, the editors present the basic background of the bacteriology and genetics of the neurotoxigenic clostridia, a history of the discovery of the neurotoxins, and an overview of the tetanus and botulism diseases. The chapters detailing common medical applications of the toxins cover side effects and novel uses, including neuronal drug delivery strategies, and provide a fresh look at what can still be achieved. They also explore the toxins as potential threat agents and the advent of the therapeutic use of botulinum toxins. Highlighting the pitfalls, successes, and challenges that exist when engineering complex proteins, the book brings together the clinical and theoretical worlds. It presents a broad overview of the current status of botulinum research and its clinical applications.