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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spider venom could be new painkillers

Spiders, often crowned as an uninvited guest in many homes, but now has a new reputation, ie is a drug source of pain relievers. Spider venom contains thousands of proteins, including several useful molecules that could one day be made into a painkiller that is very powerful.
Spider in a research project at the Australian Museum in Sydney. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1MQWClS)
Such products can really help millions of patients with chronic pain who are not immune to the usual medications. In the United States alone, the cost of chronic pain is estimated to exceed US $ 600 billion per year due to lost productivity and medical expenses, higher than the cost for cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.

Spider seems not painkillers. Many of the proteins in the venom they activate pain pathways, causing paralysis and muscle spasms for prey spider. And in humans, spider bites can be very painful.

But researchers at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience of the University of Queensland, Australia, which analyzes the poison 206 species of spiders, identified seven compounds among the thousands of toxins in samples that actually block pain signals from reaching the brain. Their findings were published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

"If we can take the toxins that can hinder these canals and turn it into a drug, then people will not feel the stimulation of nerves that usually cause pain," said Julie Garb, a researcher spider in biology department of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, who was not involved in the research in Australia.

It is estimated that there are nine million proteins in the venom of 45,000 species of spiders in the world. Only a very few, 0.01 per cent, of the peptides that have so far been investigated for biological activity, according to her. "But perhaps there is only one component that has a positive medical effects and useful, so they tried to isolate exactly what it is. So if we know exactly what it is, then we can produce it as a drug," she said further.

Australian scientists suggest that the techniques they use to filter the spider's venom can be used to test other compounds, identifying useful toxins can be used to create new drugs. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | VOANEWS]
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