Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Scorpion venom has toxic effects against cancer cells

When the toxin invades channels in the cells with this disease produces cellular damage until killing them.

In the venom from the Centruroides tecomanus scorpion from Colima, south-west state of Mexico, over a hundred proteins have been found and identified a "possible" toxic effect against cancer cells, reveals a scientific study.

The preliminary investigation is carried out by specialists of the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Colima (UCOL), who have identified peptides (amino acid molecules) that destroy cancer cells in vitro.

Laura Leticia Valdez Velazquez, head of research, said that when the toxin, derived from scorpion venom, invades channels in the cells with this disease it produces cellular damage until killing them.

"We have identified a highly selective group of peptides, which indicates that they could specifically bind to cancer cells and cause their death," she indicates.

Centruroides tecomanus species is one of the most poisonous scorpions of the country. The UCOL already has the genetic sequences of the protein components of the venom.

The scientific team took advantage of the great number of scorpions found in Colima. They began with the collection and extraction of poison, inoculating and immunizing rabbits as part of the teaching career in Pharmaceutical Chemistry Biologist. From this they decided to study the venom with the support of Lourival Possani, from the Institute of Biotechnology of the National Autonomous University od Mexico (UNAM).

The researcher explains that UCOL undertook the task of characterizing each component from the arachnid toxins, one of the most poisonous of the continent. Currently it has identified a group of peptides (about 10) in order to evaluate the have greater toxic effect against lymphoma cells.

"The venom toxins act on ion channels of the cancer cell damaging them. Our interest is for the cell to be selectively removed. We have found that these peptides have affinity with these cells, that is, they could specifically bind to them and induce cancer death".

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