Poison? Potion? — Snake venom as heart attack treatment

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Snakebites can be deadly, but their poisons could be a lifesaver.

Eastern green mamba

This glossy green snake is an Eastern green mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps), found throughout the eastern Africa. Don’t be fooled by its lack of flashy red stripes or other visual warnings: its bites are highly poisonous. While you would want to avoid venomous snakes like the green mamba out in the wild, they are a treasure trove for some medical researchers. Continue reading –>

 

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3 Comments

Filed under Animals in Science, Health, Technology

3 responses to “Poison? Potion? — Snake venom as heart attack treatment

  1. Jett

    How do researchers find out which part of the venom to fuse with which hormone? Do they just randomly choose 2 parts and test on Guinea pigs?

    • Thank you for the technical question. They used C-terminal portion (the second half) of the venom peptide, which was isolated and shown to have good effect for heart attack treatment in previous studies. (This shorter version of the venom peptide is also better than the full-length peptide since they are more stable and less prone to degradation.) The hormone is also known for good effect through similar actions (that is, by causing blood vessels to dilate and easing blood flow). The hybrid drug was tested on rats and also in vitro in the current study (Mayo Clinic), passed Phase I clinical trial (testing on healthy people), and is currently under Phase II clinical trials (testing on small number of patients). I hope this answered your question 🙂

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