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April 2014

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Patient Lyn Dowsey, Monash Health respiratory scientist Laurance Ruane and Professor Phil Bardin.

Botox a boon for asthma patients

Monash Health researchers have achieved positive results from a world-first clinical trial that uses botulinum toxin (Botox) to treat severe vocal cord dysfunction in patients with asthma.

The research – led by Director of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Philip Bardin and Dr Malcolm Baxter – trialled the Botox injections on a group of 11 patients with severe asthma symptoms.

Each patient was given a total of 24 injections directly into the vocal cords with 60 per cent of those trialled reporting a reduction in symptoms.

‘We did try other methods of delivery but we found the greatest benefit was achieved when we used a bronchoscope to guide our injections to a very specific area of vocal cord tissue, where we injected a small amount of Botox,’ Professor Bardin said.

Monash Health patient Lyn Dowsey, who has suffered for years with acute asthma, is one of the patients now finding relief.

‘I can get up from my seat and move around without struggling to breathe’ said Ms Dowsey.

The research, published in the Journal of Respirology, provides very promising results for the two million Australians currently living with asthma.

‘Many of these patients’ symptoms are extremely severe, so it has been tremendously satisfying to provide them with some relief,’ Professor Bardin said.