Thursday, 02 Oct, 2008 Health & Fitness

Deadly Scorpion Venom Could Cure Brain Cancer


Scientists are currently testing the deadly scorpion venom, which might be an effective cure for brain cancer. The venom samples were taken from Leiurus quinquestriatus, a scorpion living in the Middle East.

In the scorpion's venom scientists found a peptide, which is non-toxic to humans. Peptide binds to a receptor that is located only on some tumor cells.

Scientists noticed that peptide attacked tumors in breast, skin and brain, leaving the healthy cells intact.

Together with his colleagues, Michael Egan, who works for TransMolecular, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has bound radioactive iodine isotopes to the peptide in order to see if it provides deadly doses of radioactivity to cancer cells.

Last year scientists injected this agent straight into the tumors of 59 patients who had inoperable brain cancer. All those people have now died but researchers noticed that patients who received a higher dose prolonged their life by three months in average.

For several weeks scientists from the University of Chicago in Illinois have been injecting TM601 into the blood of patients with different forms of malignant brain cancer. After the experiment researchers will study whether they can identify and destroy known primary and secondary tumors throughout the body.

Source: NewScientist

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