Does this venomous snake hold the cure to cancer?

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Does This Venomous Snake Hold the Cure to Cancer?

Some of the compounds contained in the venom of dangerous animals may be used for medicinal purposes.

For example, scorpion venom is being trialed for arthritis.

Now, new research indicates that a compound found in rattlesnake venom might fight cancer.

These researchers conducted their study at the Departamento Farmacologia, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil. The Journal of Amino Acids published the results.

This study was part of a series of animal experiments looking at the effects of crotamine on cancer.

Crotamine is a toxin in the venom of the South American rattlesnake.

The rattlesnake toxin crotamine causes damage to human cells.

But scientists noticed that crotamine seems to be much more aggressive towards cancer cells.

The different effects of crotamine on cancer cells and healthy cells prompted scientists to investigate its anti-cancer effects.

Previous experiments showed that crotamine injected into the body cavities of animals can reduce skin cancer.

“The efficacy of crotamine as anti-tumoral was demonstrated by daily injections of this toxin into the body cavity in an animal model.”

Crotamine increased lifespan and decreased the size of tumors in mice.

“Significant inhibition of tumor growth and increased lifespan of mice bearing tumor was also noticed after 3 weeks of crotamine injections.”

Body cavity injections are very unpleasant and unlikely to be taken up clinically.

So scientists wanted to know if crotamine has anti-cancer effects when taken orally.

“Due to the limited acceptance of treatments by body cavity injection we evaluated the anti-tumor effect via the oral route.”

The researchers inoculated mice with cancer cells so that they develop melanoma (skin cancer).

They gave some groups of mice crotamine orally. Other groups were not treated but were used for comparison.

The study showed that oral crotamine can slow the growth of cancer cells.

“The efficacy of crotamine in inhibiting the melanoma growth after passing through the gastrointestinal tract of the animal was confirmed.”

There was no evidence of toxic effects from crotamine dosed in this way.

Both the amount of crotamine used and the route of admission lower the chances of toxic side effects.

“Biochemical markers and tissue analysis showed the absence of toxic effects in tissues or organs of the animal.”

This component of snake venom toxin could become a viable medicine for some type of cancers.

“This study confirmed the efficacy of crotamine administered by oral route as an anti-tumor agent.”

The study also found some interesting changes in the metabolic profiles of the animals given crotamine.

Crotamine increased glucose clearance and reduced cholesterol.

“We observed increased capacity of glucose clearance accompanied by a reduction of the total cholesterol and increased HDL.”

Crotamine also lowered triglycerides and LDL…

However, they mostly only found these metabolic improvements in animals in the control group not given tumors.

“Triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein were also significantly decreased, but only in the absence of tumor.”

The study indicates that there may be more beneficial metabolic effects in animals with tumors if they’re treated for a longer period of time.

“These data suggest a clear trend for metabolic positive effects in animals, with or without tumors, treated with crotamine for 21 days.”

There were some toxic side effects seen with crotamine given by injection into the body cavity.

Oral crotamine proved to be safer than crotamine injection.

“Crotamine administered by oral route as an anti-tumor agent has a decreased risk of toxic effects.”

This may lead to the development of an anti-cancer treatment that is less toxic than some of the other treatments available.

You should see a healthcare professional about diagnosing and treating cancer.

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Matt Cook is editor-in-chief of Daily Medical Discoveries. Matt has been a full time health researcher for 26 years. ABC News interviewed Matt on sexual health issues not long ago. Matt is widely quoted on over 1,000,000 websites. He has over 300,000 daily newsletter readers. Daily Medical Discoveries finds hidden, buried or ignored medical studies through the lens of 100 years of proven science. Matt heads up the editorial team of scientists and health researchers. Each discovery is based upon primary studies from peer reviewed science sources following the Daily Medical Discoveries 7 Step Process to ensure accuracy.
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