Spider Venom as a Potential Drug for Stroke
Science & Tech / /
Brain damage caused by stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide. If this drug can help with this, it would be the first medicine that can help with a brain damage.
Spiders that came from the family of spiders called ‘Trichinae’ or more known as Australian funnel-web spiders are one of the most dangerous in the world. Their venom is so strong that with only one bite it can cause death in just 15 minutes. The interesting thing is that this predator may be the keeper of a cure or medicine for brain cell damaging caused by a stroke.
Every year, around 5 million people suffer from brain damage after a stroke. Scientists think that there is one unrevealed protein in this spider’s venom, more particularly in the venom of the spider on the type "Hadronyche infensa" can protect neurons from cell death, even if taken into the body a few hours after the shot.
“The drug could be given in the ambulance to most stroke patients before hospital arrival, maximizing the number of neurons that can be saved,” said Glenn King, from the University of Queensland, Australia.
Professor Glenn King is the one working with the other scientists on this research and he strongly believes that for the first time they have found a way to minimize the effects of a brain damage after a stroke.
He also added:
“The drug could be given in the ambulance to most stroke patients before hospital arrival, maximising the number of neurons that can be saved’’
In the majority of strokes, which are called ischemic strokes, the blood and oxygen supply to the brain is interrupted. As a result, the body starts breaking down glucose to compensate for the lack of oxygen, but this is a results in the production of acids that can kill brain cells.
But this protein found in the venom, which for now has only been tested on mice, can stop this process in a way where it prevents the ability of the brain cells to detect excess acids and thus prevents neurons from dying.
During the tests, this protein was effective even after several hours of stroke, which is particularly important for people because they can all get this treatment immediately after a stroke. Just one dose of it in 8 hours after the stroke hits, can reduce the damage to the brain by 65%.
Yet, there is not a prove that this would also work on people, but these scientists hope and plan to make everything for this to work on humans the same as it works on mice. They plan to conduct clinical trials of patients with stroke in the following two years. If these tests are successful, the drug could be used as injections in the brain or entered through the nose.