Snake venom 'could help create more effective drugs'

20 September 2012

The venom found in snakes and a variety of lizards could prove a good source for new drugs to treat a selection of human diseases.

Research, results of which were published in the journal Nature Communications, pointed out that many reptiles 'reclaim' some toxins and use them safely elsewhere in their own bodies.

The scientists behind the study, from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, believe it is these reclaimed toxins which could make for safer and more effective drugs to be created in the future.

In order to reach this conclusion, the researchers studied the genomes of venomous snakes and lizards to determine how the animals' venoms evolve.

Upon this analysis, it was found that chemicals in the venom form through evolution and then are later adopted by parts of the animal's body for other uses.

Dr Nicholas Casewell, from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, noted: "The venom gland of snakes appears to be a melting pot for evolving new functions for molecules, some of which are retained in venom for killing prey, while others go on to serve new functions in other tissues in the body."

Posted by Philip Briggs


Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:

or

Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.

or

Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

Categories

Healthcare

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)