Photograph by Geoff Gallice distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license.

This article was originally published on The Wall Street Journal.


“Scientists are turning toxins from scorpions, snakes and spiders into treatments for diseases including diabetes and cancer

Scorpions to help us fight cancer? It isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Scientists are at work on a “tumor paint” known as BLZ-100, derived from scorpion venom. The paint, which started its Phase I clinical trial for children’s brain tumors last year, is based on a toxin that causes rapid paralysis in insects, the scorpion’s usual prey. But in mammals, the toxin binds to chloride channels found in tumor cells. By linking the toxin to a fluorescent dye, doctors can see and remove an entire cancerous mass, reducing the likelihood of relapse.

Scorpions and other animals that deploy toxins to survive are becoming increasingly important allies in humanity’s fight against ailments ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes and cancer. Whether it is sea-anemone venom tackling autoimmune disorders, tarantula venom attacking muscular dystrophy or centipede venom alleviating excruciating pain, scientists are finding the lifesaving potential in species that are feared for their painful, sometimes deadly stings…”

Read on at: The Wall Street Journal.