Researchers at the 248th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) presented findings showing that the venom from bees, snakes, and scorpions could potentially be used to fight certain types of cancer.
You don't have to be a master biologist to know that injecting pure venom into the bloodstream can have fatal consequences, but the scientists presenting at the ACS meeting in San Francisco made the case for isolating specific proteins and peptides contained within venoms, which blocked tumor growth in lab tests.
As Time reports, a substance found in bee venom called melittin was effective in keeping malignant cancer cells from spreading. The study was conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“We have safely used venom toxins in tiny nanometer-sized particles to treat breast cancer and melanoma cells in the laboratory,” said lead researcher Dipanjan Pan. “These particles, which are camouflaged from the immune system, take the toxin directly to the cancer cells, sparing normal tissue.”