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Why Animal Venoms? Pt 1.

Why Animal Venoms? Pt 1.

Animal venom peptides have been under the modern microscope for decades now. Biotechnical and pharmacological applications are being exploited and explored with sincerity by some of the worlds most reputable institutions and largest pharma conglomerates. Researchers are discovering more and more drug candidates with animal venom-derived peptides as they target the nervous and immune systems. 

The coverage in mainstream media is limited but if one is willing to comb through research papers the findings are promising. The search for prodrugs of medications that act on the central nervous system is of particular interest.

Professor Head Yuri N Utkin, Laboratory of Molecular Toxinology, Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russia, in May of 2015 published a paper in The World Journal of Biological Chemistry. Professor Utkin reported, "The data available show that some of the venom peptides appear to be capable of go through the blood brain barrier (BBB)." Further stated "Other peptide chlorotoxin from scorpion venom was shown also to penetrate BBB and its fluorescently labelled analogue was used for detecting cancer foci and metastases noninvasively. Chlorotoxin-linked dye Tumor Paint BLZ-100 that “light ups” cancer cells so that surgeons can precisely target brain tumours is entering phase 1b study in human patients."  

This is one of many papers and articles that speaks to the potential of animal venoms for medical use. There is even a fancy new term that has emerged, "Venomics" - the proteomic characterization of venom proteomes. Say that fast five times.

 

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