Researchers in Brazil are studying the banana spider’s venom for its potential use in a lotion to treat erectile dysfunction. Snake venom proteins have been used in drugs for conditions like high blood pressure and heart issues, while scorpion venom is being explored for its potential to combat certain cancer cells.
Researchers have been studying the Brazilian banana spider’s venom for three decades due to its unusual side effect of causing prolonged erections in men. This effect is now being explored as a potential treatment for erectile dysfunction. Scientists are testing a component of the spider’s venom, BZ371A, which they believe boosts blood flow. A separate pilot test found topical application of BZ371A increased blood flow to the applied area, facilitating erections. This development could help men who cannot take traditional oral medications for erectile dysfunction due to health conditions.
Venom from certain snakes, like the Brazilian pit viper, has been used to develop medications for heart issues. Captopril, commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, contains this venom. Other drugs, derived from venoms of snakes like the dusky pygmy rattlesnake and the saw-scaled viper, treat chest pain (angina) by preventing blood clots. Research suggests these venoms can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes without causing additional bleeding, making them valuable in cardiovascular medicine.
The Komodo dragon, Earth’s largest lizard, has venom that might prevent strokes, heart attacks, and pulmonary embolisms. Research suggests it can affect proteins involved in blood clot formation, potentially reducing clot-related deaths. The lizard also contains exenatide, similar to the diabetes and weight loss drug semaglutide. This discovery holds promise for medical applications.
Scorpion venom is being explored as a potential cancer treatment, particularly for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a deadly brain cancer. Researchers at City of Hope Medical Center in California are using the venom’s chlorotoxin (CLTX) in immunotherapy, targeting cancer cells without harming healthy ones. Clinical trials are underway for this promising treatment, offering hope for GBM patients who face a grim prognosis.
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