Editorial: Botulinum toxin – From WMD to therapeutic agent and cosmetic aid ||Free Paper||
Authors Roger M Pinder
Published 15 January 2008 Volume 2007:3(6) Pages 703—704
Roger M Pinder
Botulinum toxin – From WMD to therapeutic agent and cosmetic aid
Botulism has long been known but was first described in the 19th century as a rapidly progressing and fatal paralysis following ingestion of blood sausage. It is most notoriously associated with the early days of the food canning industry in the beginning of the 20th century when many outbreaks occurred particularly in the USA. Food-borne botulism remains to this day a cause of regular outbreaks, but the condition can also arise from wound infection or enteric bacterial overgrowth. The responsible bacterium, Clostridium botulinum, was already isolated and identified in the 19th century, but serious research on the purification and crystallization of botulinum toxin type A was carried out only in the cold war era during the search for biological weapons (Schantz and Johnson 1997). Indeed, botulinum toxin became iconic in modern times as one of Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction.