Indian-origin scientists devise ways to treat cancer from scorpion venom

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 25, 2014 10:02 IST

A group of Indian origin scientist at the University of Illinois are developing new cancer therapies by using high doses of toxins derived from scorpions, bees and snakes.

“Our research found that the highly potent toxins from animal venoms can be used for treating cancer. Venoms are soups-- a complex mixture of protein, peptides and other chemicals. Host defence peptidotoxins from animal venoms have been identified to possess substantial anticancer properties,” says the lead author of the research Prof Dipanjan Pan.

The research titled -- Highly efficient anti-cancer therapy using scorpion ‘NanoVenin was part of the recent meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society, in San Francisco.

Laboratory results indicated high efficacy in different variants of breast cancer cells and melanoma cells." Prof Dipanjan told HT.

Our goal, he said is to use this powerful properties of venom toxins for attacking cancer cells while sparing healthy surrounding cells/ tissue. In our laboratory we have specifically designed nanoparticles using novel chemistry, that latches on to the cancer cells before delivering high doses of toxins derived from scorpions, bees, and snakes.

Results also indicate that these particles are able to hide themselves from the human immune system and point to the benefit of these systems in terms of their overall safety.

“Studies are underway to fully elucidate their safety and efficacy in preclinical models. These results will help us move from preclinical to first-to-human studies.”

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