TUCSON, Ariz. – In a small room in a building of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the weak guardian, Emma Califf, carries a stone in a plastic box. “This is one of our desert hairs,” he said, spreading a long-tailed scorpion, with his tail arced across his back. “The largest scorpion in North America.”
This captive hair, along with a swarm of inch-long bark scorpions in another box, and two dozen rattlesnakes of different types and sub-types throughout the house, are kept here for the coin of the realm: their venom.
Efforts to combat the massive proliferation of proteins in venom – an area known as venomics – have grown in recent years, and commercial growth has led to a number of discoveries. As the production of these toxins continues to evolve as technology progresses, the number of at-risk molecules continues to grow.
“One hundred years ago we thought venom had three or four species, and now we know only one type of venom can have thousands,” said Leslie V. Boyer, a pathology specialist at the University of Arizona. . “Everything has gotten faster because some very good labs have released data that everyone can use right now to make discoveries.”
“There is a pharmacy there waiting to be investigated,” he said.
It is the result of modern alchemy research: The largest alteration of toxins in the world has produced many effective drugs with the potential for many more.
One of the most effective drugs to date comes from the Fraser Island funnel web spider in Australia, which prevents cell death after a heart attack.
The blood flow to the heart slows down after a heart attack, which causes the cell to become acidic and causes cell death. The drug, a protein called Hi1A, is scheduled for clinical trials next year. In the laboratory, he was tested on the cells of the human heart. It has been found to block their ability to understand acid, “so the word death is blocked, cell death is reduced, and we see ways to keep the heart alive,” Nathan Palpant, the Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia say the findings.
If there is evidence in the trial, it can be managed by emergency medical personnel, and can prevent the damage that occurs after a heart attack and can improve the outcome. related to heart transplantation by prolonging the donor heart health.
Bryan Fry, a toxicology specialist at the University of Queensland, said: “It seems to cause a heart attack,” said Bryan Fry, a toxicology specialist at the University of Queensland. research but not involved. “And it’s from one of the worst beasts” in Australia.
The techniques used to make venom compounds have become so powerful that they are developing new methods. “We can do tests today using only a few micrograms of venom that 10 or 15 years ago would have needed hundreds of micrograms,” or more,’s. Fry said. “This is done by opening all the other venomous pathogens out there that produce small objects.”
There is a huge natural library to check out. Hundreds of thousands of species of reptiles, insects, spiders, snails and jellyfish, among other animals, have been known for the art of chemical warfare with venom. In addition, the ointment of venom varies from animal to animal. There is one type of chemical terroir: Venom varies in size, potency and proportion and type of toxin, depending on location and diet, and even by temperature changes due to climate change.
Venom is made from a mixture of toxins, which are proteins that have unique characteristics. They are lethal because the mutations have kept them for a long time – some 54 million years for snakes and 600 million for jellyfish.
Venom was the product of the biological weapon race of the time; As venom becomes more deadly, victims become more degenerative, resulting in even venom death. Humans are in the dynamic. “We are made from protein and our protein has a slightly complex configuration of it made for us humans,” said Dr. Boyer, founder of the Venom Immunochemistry, Pharmacology, and Emergency Response Institute, or VIPER. “And these small setups are the goal of the venom.”
The specific cellular proteins in which the venom molecules are mutated to the target with precisely what makes the drug derived from them – using the same method – efficient. Some proteins, however, have side effects that can make new drugs from them not work.
It is usually not necessary to collect venom to make this medicine. Once they are identified, they can come together.
There are three main types of venom. Neurotoxins attack the brain, causing paralysis. Hemotoxins focus the blood and local tissues on toxins against the area around the toxin.
Many venom-derived drugs are available in the market. Captopril, first developed in the 1970s by the venom of a Brazilian jararaca pit viper to treat high blood pressure. It has completed the business. Another drug, exenatide, is given by Gila demon venom and is prescribed for type 2 diabetes. Draculin is an antibiotic from vampire bat venom and is used to treat stroke and heart attack.
The venom of the Israeli deathstalker scorpion is the basis of a series of experimental experiments that detect and detect cancers in the breast and colon.
Some proteins have been considered as potential competitors for new drugs, but they have to go through a long process of manufacturing and testing, which can take years and cost. millions of dollars. In March, scientists at the University of Utah reported that they had discovered a fast-acting body in a snail cup. Cone snails shoot their venom into the fish, causing the prey to drop the sugar as soon as it kills them. It holds promise as a remedy for diabetes. Bee venom seems to work with a variety of pathologies and has recently been shown to fight malignant breast cancer.
In Brazil scientists have viewed the venom of Brazilian wandering spiders as a potential new drug for erectile dysfunction – because of what happened to human victims when they were little. Dr. “One of the characteristics of their violence is that men get special illnesses, making them unbelievably long-lived,” Fry said. “They have to separate him from his deadly cause, of course, and find a way to call him back.”
Some scientists have long assumed that vital secretions are trapped in the venom. The first scientific interest occurred in the 17th century. In the mid-18th century Italian physician and polymath Felice Fontana added a body of knowledge with his treatise, and in 1860 the first research to look at venom components was done by S. Weir Mitchell lives in Philadelphia.
Venom treatment has a long history, often without supporting research. Venom-dipped needles are an acupuncture drug. Bee sting therapy, in which a swarm of bees placed on the skin, is used by some natural healers. Rock musician Steve Ludwin says he regularly injects himself with antibiotics, believing it to be a tonic that builds his immune system and boosts his energy.
The demand for venom is increasing. Ms. The Califf at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum said it had to go into the desert to see many scorpions, which it shoots at night with black light because they glow in the dark. Arizona, Dr. Boyer said, being “venom central,” with more venomous animals than any other U.S. state, makes it suitable for this type of production.
Scorpion venom is collected by applying a small amount of electric current to the arachnid, which causes it to emit a small amount of amber liquid at the tip of its tail. With snakes, the venom glands were gently massaged as they stripped their fangs across the martini cup. After they released their venom, the products were sent to scientists all over the world.
Pit vipers, along with rattlesnakes, have other variations. The “hole” is the location of a biological device that allows snakes to know the temperature of their pet. “You can blind the snake and it will still hit the target,” Dr. Boyer said.
But it is not just venom that is better understood today. In the last few years, there has been good cooperation and research in antibiotics.
In 2019 Wellcome Trust raised $ 100 million for the fundraiser. Since then many studies around the world have been looking for a cure worldwide – one that can be carried out remotely to help a person suffering from all kinds of venomous snakes. Currently, many types of perfumes contain different antibiotics.
It was hard. The wide range of ingredients in venom that have benefited new drug research has also made it difficult to find drugs that can make them worse. A universal antivenom, varespladib, is undergoing clinical trials.
Experts hope the role of venom will lead to greater respect for the fear-inducing creatures that create them. Dr. Fry, for his work on anti-coagulants, is studying the venom of the Komodo dragon, which, at 10 feet long and weighing more than 300 pounds, is the largest lizard in the world. It is also very dangerous.
The work of Komodo, “allows us to talk about conservation terms more broadly,” he said.
“You want the environment because it’s a biobank,” he added. “We can only see these fascinating connections from these beautiful animals if they are not gone.”