Tarantula venom has painkiller potential - 8 News NOW

Tarantula venom has painkiller potential

Updated: Feb 25, 2014 02:50 PM
© CDC © CDC

TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Tarantula venom may hold the key to the development of a safe and effective new painkiller, according to a new study.

Yale University researchers found that a specific protein in the venom of the Peruvian green velvet tarantula blocks activity in nerve cells that transmit pain. They say the process they used to identify this protein could also search for millions of different spider toxins and lead to the development of other new pain medications.

"The likelihood is that within the vast diversity of spider toxins we will find others that are active against other channels important for pain," senior study author Michael Nitabach said in a Yale news release.

"The beauty of the system is we can also screen engineered toxins not found in nature," added Nitabach, an associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of genetics. By doing so, he said, they could identify more potent variations that would not harm essential nerve functions.

For the study published in the March 3 issue of Current Biology, the researchers analyzed more than 100 spider toxins from various tarantula species. They tested these toxins on "TRPA1" -- one of 12 suspected human pain channels. Located on the surface of nerve cells that sense pain, this channel is associated with inflammation and nerve pain.

The researchers found the one tarantula toxin, in particular, that blocked this pain channel but did not affect any other channels on the surface of nerve cells.

They say they plan to continue testing many thousands of new toxins that could produce similar pain-reducing effects.

More information

Visit the American Museum of Natural History to learn how various toxins may be used to develop new drugs and medical treatments.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Paula's Health NotesLas Vegas Health NewsMore>>

  • New procedure to help Lipedema

    New procedure to help Lipedema

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:55 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:55:58 GMT
    Some women just can't lose weight and for the estimated 11 percent of women with a chronic disorder, diet and exercise won't help at all. Now, there is a new procedure doctors are now using that can help restore their appearance.More>>
    Some women just can't lose weight and for the estimated 11 percent of women with a chronic disorder, diet and exercise won't help at all. Now, there is a new procedure doctors are now using that can help restore their appearance.More>>
  • Fixing gerd for good

    Fixing gerd for good

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 3:21 PM EDT2014-08-19 19:21:39 GMT
    Acid reflux disease, a condition commonly known as “GERD”, affects about one-third of Americans. It can cause pain, coughing, heartburn and can even lead to cancer. Now, a simple procedure may fix GERD for good.More>>
    Acid reflux disease, a condition commonly known as “GERD”, affects about one-third of Americans. It can cause pain, coughing, heartburn and can even lead to cancer. Now, a simple procedure may fix GERD for good.More>>
  • Ice cold heart therapy

    Ice cold heart therapy

    Friday, August 15 2014 5:05 PM EDT2014-08-15 21:05:13 GMT
    A trial fibrillation affects about 2.7 million Americans. It's a condition that causes heart palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Now doctors are freezing the problem away.More>>
    A trial fibrillation affects about 2.7 million Americans. It's a condition that causes heart palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Now doctors are freezing the problem away.More>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.