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Scorpion Venom May Slow Cancer

by amanda on April 18, 2009 · 0 comments

in misc

One thing I’ve learned through my involvement with zoos is that people often won’t care about animals unless they see something in it for them.  That’s why most hunters really are great conversationalists.  They want to conserve wildlife and habitats because they have so much money and passion invested in their hobby.  If wildlife habitats disappear, so does their hobby.  That’s something that’s hard for most animal lovers to understand.

One thing I like to point out at the zoo when I talk to people is that many medical advancements for humans have been because of plants and animals.  Drugs for diabetes, cancer, pain and more have been found in the animal kingdom.  Innovations in transplant medicine and orthopedics have come from animals.  The plant and fungi kingdoms have made almost every drug we have p0ssible.

Today’s feature is about a new medical finding.  Chlorotoxin, a chemical derived from the giant Israeli scorpion, affects a protein on the outside of brain tumor cells called MMP-2. This protein is thought to help the cancer cells spread.

In a new study, scientists chemically bonded iron oxide nanoparticles with a lab-made version of chlorotoxin to create tiny nanoprobes, each carrying up to 20 chlorotoxin molecules.

The researchers found that the nanoprobes can halt the spread of brain tumors in mice by 98 percent, compared to 45 percent with the scorpion venom alone.

That’s an amazing discovery.  It will be years before chlorotoxinis available to use, but just one more reason we should care about the world around us.

It’s amazing that as high tech us and “all knowing” that we are that we find new things in nature all the time that we never knew, and may never know if we don’t shape up.

Happy Earth Day weekend!

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