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pharmiweb.com today | 05 September 2015

Wasp venom 'a weapon against cancer'

The venom of a wasp native to Brazil could be used as a weapon to fight cancer, scientists believe. A toxin in the sting kills cancer cells without harming normal cells, lab studies suggest. The University of Brazil team say the experimental therapy latches to tumour cells and makes them leak vital molecules....

In laboratory tests, the poison has been shown to suppress the growth of prostate and bladder cancer cells, as well as leukaemia cells resistant to a range of drugs.

New research has now revealed the secret of the venom toxin, known as MP1. Scientists found that it blows gaping holes in the protective membranes surrounding tumour cells by interacting with fatty molecules called lipids.

Dr Paul Beales, a researcher from Leeds University, said: “Cancer therapies that attack the lipid composition of the cell membrane would be an entirely new class of anti-cancer drugs.

“This could be useful in developing new combination therapies, where multiple drugs are used simultaneously to treat a cancer by attacking different parts of the cancer cells at the same time.”

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