There’s some exciting news in the medical community as the rumblings around venomous treatments become a reality. In a world where life, and how we experience life, changes at a speed faster than ever before, it should come as no surprise to discover that the way we practice medicine is changing daily. The use of venom in the treatment of certain conditions has added an interesting twist to medical advances, which could become treatable, even curable, using venom from venomous plants and animals.
15 percent of the biodiversity of the Earth is made up of venomous animals and plants. Recently venom harvesting and dissection have been advanced at a molecular level and technological breakthroughs have occurred, which have led to new treatment developments around the use of venoms.
Scientists say that venoms from mammals right down to arachnids have proven successful as a tool in helping individuals to survive and live a life that’s a little longer and healthier. As technology changes and improves the likelihood that treatments will improve also increases, and venom is likely to become useful to more individuals.
One lead study author Mandë Holford of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Hunter College feels that toxic animals hold the clues for treating a number of conditions such as autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, and diabetes.
Omic advancements have been able to take an organism and identify and quantify the biological molecules, which has helped to create a deeper insight, which in turn has improved the science in this area. Today scientists have the ability to look into the genome of a species and construct a diagram of its evolution. Knowing and understanding this about venomous species will help scientists to make better decisions on the best use of venom to treat illness and disease, and more importantly to understand how venom can lead to an outcome that’s a positive medical one rather than the venomous outcome.
The changes that venom-resistant prey undergo over time so that they have been able to survive can result in the production of novel compounds that can lead to very important drug development, and these evolutions will continue to play key roles.
The rich diversity in venoms in addition to their high specificity has the potential to be helpful to drug designers in creating templates designed to treat one or more conditions. While still in its infancy with much to still be learned, it is clear that this type of treatment will soon be part of standard medicinal practice.
Currently, the FDA has approximately six drugs they have approved that are derived from venoms for safe use. The Holford Industry feels that these six medications have barely scratched the surface when it comes to venom-based drugs helping people and that there will be many more medications approved in the next few years.