Venom Medicine.These creatures could end up in your medicine chest--as wonder drugs.
Brazil's Pit Viper Bothros brazili (BOW-throps bra-ZIL-ee)
How it uses venom: Long, hollow fangs shoot venom into small animals, killing them for food.
Venom wonder chemical: A protein that helps increase blood flow by blocking chemicals that cause veins and vessels to shrink.
Medical use: An FDA-approved drug called captopril captopril /cap·to·pril/ (kap´to-pril) an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor used in the treatment of hypertension, congestive heart failure, and post–myocardial infarction left ventricular dysfunction. (KAP-tuh-pril) helps treat and prevent heart attacks.
How it works the body: Blood vessels Blood vessels
Tubular channels for blood transport, of which there are three principal types: arteries, capillaries, and veins. Only the larger arteries and veins in the body bear distinct names. shuttle oxygen to the heart. Without enough oxygen, the heart muscle dies. Captopril helps keep blood vessels open.
Adult size: 2 to 2.5 meters (6 to 8 feet)
The Sea Fan Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae (SOO-do-ter-ra-GOR-gi-ah eh-liz-ah-BEE-thay)
How it uses venom: Unlike other poisonous creatures, the sea fan doesn't inject venom into predators. Instead, it relies on its foul taste to avoid being eaten. Over time, other sea creatures have learned to recognize the sea fan as a poisonous meal.
Venom wonder chemicals: Pseudopterosins (sood-o-TEAR-uh-sins)
Medical use: Helps treat conditions that create inflammation (a response to infection or injury), such as sunburn sunburn, inflammation of the skin caused by actinic rays from the sun or artificial sources. Moderate exposure to ultraviolet radiation is followed by a red blush, but severe exposure may result in blisters, pain, and constitutional symptoms. and arthritis. You find sea fan extract in face creams to help prevent sun damage.
How it works in the body:The sea fan extract blocks chemicals that produce redness, inflammation, and swelling.
Adults range from 0.5 m to over 1 m wide (2 to 4 ft).
Funnel Web Spider Hololena curta (hah-loh-LAY-nah CUR-tah)
How it uses venom: As a defense to ward off predators and kill prey
Venom wonder chemical: HF-7
Medical use: May help prevent brain damage caused by short bouts of oxygen loss
How it works in the body: Stimulates the immune system immune system
Cells, cell products, organs, and structures of the body involved in the detection and destruction of foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. Immunity is based on the system's ability to launch a defense against such invaders.
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Common Honeybee honeybee
Broadly, any bee that makes honey (any insect of the tribe Apini, family Apidae); more strictly, one of the four species constituting the genus Apis. The term is usually applied to one species, the domestic honeybee (A.
Hymenoptera apidae (high-men-OP-teh-rah AH-pi-day)
How it uses venom: Unlike most venomous venomous
secreting poison; poisonous. creatures, the honeybee uses its poison only as a defense against attack. Bee stings cause pain and swelling around the sting site.
Venom wonder chemical: The protein, phospholipase phospholipase /phos·pho·lip·ase/ (-lip´as) any of four enzymes (phospholipase A to D) that catalyze the hydrolysis of specific ester bonds in phospholipids.
n. (fos-foh-LIE-pase) A, is one of at least 18 active chemicals found in bee venom bee venom,
n poison extracted from bees. Has been used in the treatment of rheumatic diseases, especially multiple sclerosis and arthritis; can be applied directly or by intramuscular injection. that cause swelling when people are stung.
Medical use: May help relieve pain from arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
How it works in the body: Venom warms the body, reduces inflammation and boosts the body's immune system. It also stimulates the production of cortisone cortisone (kôr`tĭsōn'), steroid hormone whose main physiological effect is on carbohydrate metabolism. It is synthesized from cholesterol in the outer layer, or cortex, of the adrenal gland under the stimulation of adrenocorticotropic , a chemical used to treat allergies, inflammation, and tissue diseases in humans.
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Giant Israeli Scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus (LURE-us quin-ques-tree-AT-us)
How it uses venom: A needle-like tail stinger injects venom into insects like cockroaches cockroaches
insects which may carry Salmonella spp. in their gut and play a part in the spread of the disease. , paralyzing their central nervous systems.
Venom wonder chemical: A chemical called chlorotoxin helps cancer drugs find and bind, or stick, to cancer cells in the brain. But in combination with other toxins, chlorotoxin works as a poison to cripple the nervous system and cause muscle cramping, vomiting, and swelling.
Medical use: More than 80,000 people a year are diagnosed with brain cancer. Although not yet tested in humans, chlorotoxin helps kill deadly cancer cells in the brains of mice. Researchers hope to start testing the promising therapy in humans early next year.
How it works in the body: Cancer drugs kill healthy cells as well as cancerous cells. But chlorotoxin acts like a homing device, binding only to cancer-causing cells. By attaching chlorotoxin to anti-cancer drugs, scientists may be able to eradicate deadly cancerous cells.
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