Business And Management

How Snake Venom IS Used to Fight Cancer

While “snake oil” is shorthand for a false cure, snake venom may have real healing power.

Innovation in omics analysis (technologies mapping the roles, relationships and actions od an organism’s molecular structure) allowed researchers to identify evolutionary changes and diversification among venomous species.

Due to these innovations, people start selling snake, scorpion even frog venoms. These venoms even act as a medicine when a venomous snake bites. There are many online stores such as Legal Venom sell snake venom online.

The researchers mentioned that this could prove useful in the development of new drugs capable of targeting and binding precisely to molecules that are active in human diseases.

snake venom
Image Source: Gogole

How are experts using snake venom in cancer research?

Scientists injected contortrostatin, a protein found in southern copperhead snake venom, directly into the mammary glands of mice where human breast cancer cells had been injected two weeks earlier. Not only did the injection of this protein inhibit the growth of the tumour—but it also slowed angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels into the tumour that supplies it with nutrients and allows the tumour to grow and spread. The protein also impaired the spread of the tumour to the lungs, one site where breast cancer spreads effectively.

The scientists explain how therapeutic peptides derived from the venomous sea anemone could treat autoimmune diseases, therapeutic neurotoxins from the Conus magus could provide non-addictive treatment for chronic pain, chlorotoxin from the deathstalker scorpion could be the basis for a surgical tumour imaging technique, and spider toxins which could yield eco-friendly insecticides.

With an evolution informed perspective would help to focus the research, so the venoms can be used to transform therapeutics and bio-insecticides.