Headline, May 14 2022/ ''' '' VENOMS -PHARMACY-WILD- VECTOR '' '''

''' '' VENOMS -


 VECTOR '' '''

PHARMACY IN THE WILD : HOW VENOMS CAN LEAD TO CURES. DEADLY toxins from snakes, spiders and other creatures can produce wonder drugs.

There are three main effects from venoms. Neurotoxins attack the nervous system, paralyzing the victim; hemotoxins attack the blood; and local tissue toxins attack the area around the site of poison exposure.

In a small room in a building at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the invertebrate keeper, Emma Califf, lifts a rock in a plastic box. ''This is one of our desert harries,'' she said, exposing a three inch long scorpion, its tail arched over its back. ''The largest scorpion in North America.''

The captive hairy, along with a swarm of inch-long bark scorpions in another box and two dozen rattle snakes of varying species and subspecies across the hall, are kept here for the coin of the realm : their venom.

Efforts to tease apart the vast swarms of proteins in venoms - a field called venomics - have multiplied in recent years, and the growing catalog of compounds has led to a number of drug discoveries. As the components of these natural toxins continue to be assayed by evolving technologies, the number of known and promising molecules is also growing.

''A century ago we thought venom had three or four components, and now we know just one type of venom can have thousands,'' said Leslie V. Boyer, a professor emeritus of pathology at the University of Arizona. ''Things are accelerating because a small number of very good laboratories have been pumping out information that everyone else can now use to make discoveries.''

She added, ''There's a pharmacopoeia out there waiting to be explored.''

It is a striking case of modern scientific alchemy. The most highly evolved natural poisons on the planet are creating a number of effective medicines, with the potential for many more.

One of the most promising venom-derived drugs to date comes from the deadly Fraser Island funnel web spider of Australia. It halts cell death after a heart attack. The drug, a protein called HiIA, is scheduled for clinical trials next year.

If proven in trials, the drug could be administered by emergency medical workers and might prevent the damage that occurs after heart attacks. It might also improve outcomes in heart transplants by keeping the donor heart healthier longer.

''It looks like it's going to be a heart attack wonder drug,'' said Bryan Fry, an associate professor of toxicology at the University of Queensland, who is familiar with the research but was not involved in it. ''And it's from one of the most vilified creatures'' in Australia.

Venoms comprise complex mixes of toxins, which are composed of proteins with unique characteristics. They are so deadly because evolution has honed their effectiveness for so long - some 54 million years for snakes and 600 years for jellyfish.

Venoms are the products of biological arms races over such expanses of time; as venom becomes more deadly, victims evolve more resistance, and in turn, the venom becomes even deadlier. Humans are included in that dynamic.

''We are made of protein and our protein has little complex configurations on it that make us humans,'' said Dr. Boyer, who founded the Venom Immunochemistry, Pharmacology and Emergency Response Institute, or VIPER. ''And those little configurations are the targets of the venom.''

The specific cellular proteins that venom molecules have evolved to attack with pinpoint accuracy are what make the drugs derived from them - which use the same pathways - so effective. Some proteins, however, have inherent problems that can make new drugs from them unworkable.

THERE is usually no need to gather venom to make these drugs. Once they are identified, they can be synthesized.

Numerous venom-derived drugs are on the market. Captopril, the first, was created in the 1970s from the venom of a Brazilian jararaca pit viper to treat high blood pressure.

Draculin is an anticoagulant from vampire bat venom and is used to treat stroke and heart attack.

Some proteins have been flagged as potential candidates for new drugs, but they have to journey through the long process of manufacture and clinical trials, which can take many years and cost millions of dollars.

IN MARCH, RESEARCHERS at the University of Utah announced that they had discovered a fast-acting molecule in cone-snails, whose venom, fired into fish, causes the victims' glucose levels to drop so rapidly it kills them.

It holds promise as a drug for diabetes.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Research and Science and Cures, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Jim Robbins.

With respectful dedication to the Researchers, Scientists, and Future, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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