Thursday, October 19, 2006

Milking Snakes


I saw a great doco on TVO recently. It was about novel drugs derived from studying venoms of poisonous animals. It looks as if most of them have a mode of action that relates to neural transmission. Nature from PBS has some links on the subject of venom derived drugs. It looks as if the field is also quite busy since there has been an FDA approved drug based on the cone snail for calcium channel therapeutics. Check out you tube for a vid of a cone snail eating a fish. What is also pretty cool about this research is that work in the field involves cone snail colleting on the great barrier reef. From the PBS article about the doco: "Bryan Fry has milked thousands of snakes during his career." no comment.


2 comments:

kamel said...

On the subject of venom-derived pharmaceuticals, there was recent news about the use of vampire bat saliva as an alternative to traditional stroke therapies (tissue plasminogen activator). The saliva clot-busting enzyme, DSPA, zeroes in on clots with minimal peripheral damage and can be used in a greater time window compared to current therapies. Read all about it here.

Bayman said...

It's unbelievable how many novel and intersting proteins you can find in even one type of venom. When you look at the literature on viper venom for example, there's report after report on new proteins with crazy-ass functions...kinda makes you wonder why...i guess it if they relied on a single substance to kill prey, wouldn't take long to select a resistant population...