Venom of Cone Snails Highly Effective in Treating Chronic Nerve Pain: Study
By Roshni Mahesh | March 18, 2014 12:09 AM EST
Researchers reveal that certain substances derived from cone snail venom can be used to treat chronic nerve pain. The substances, created from a small protein found in the marine animal, is said to be more effective than morphine and causes fewer side effects than the latter.
Richard Ling/Wikimedia Commons
Certain substances derived from cone snail venom can be used to treat chronic nerve pain, researchers reveal. Richard Ling/Wikimedia Commons
Researchers hope that their findings would help to improve treatments that are currently available for chronic nerve pain, leading to the development of an oral pain killer one day. "This is an important incremental step that could serve as the blueprint for the development of a whole new class of drugs capable of relieving one of the most severe forms of chronic pain that is currently very difficult to treat," Dr David Craik, who led the study, said in a news release.
Craik and colleagues have based their findings on conotoxins, the small proteins contained in cone snail venom that have long been known for its pain relieving properties. Though ziconotide, the only drug created from conotoxins is available to treat pain, it is less used as it involves an invasive method of infusing the drug directly into the spinal cord.
During their experiments, researchers modified conotoxin peptides to form into circular chains of amino acids and fed the prototype drug to a group of rats. The experimental drugs helped to reduce pain in the animals and were 100 times more effective than morphine or gabapentin. The drug did not cause any addiction like the other two drugs.
"We don't know about the side effects yet, as it hasn't been tested in humans. But we think it would be safe," Craik said. "It acts by a completely different mechanism than morphine, so we think it has a minimal possibility of producing the side effects of that medication. That is one of the big advantages of this drug."
Neuropathic pain involves damage of the nervous system and is very difficult to treat. The condition can be triggered by chronic diseases like diabetes and can make one suffer for many years. Researchers said that treatments currently available for this condition has only been successful in solving one in three cases and involves serious side effects.
The study will be presented at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
Join the Conversation
- Sex Change Surgery Gets Enhanced Cover From US Insurance Firms: Obama Regime's Policy Change Became The Trigger
- Chilling: Ebola Spreads Through Sneeze and Cough Droplets And Toilet Seats
- Red Cross Aussie Nurse Says Australia’s Ebola Visa Ban Is Embarrassing
- Australia Does Not Have Ebola Drug ZMapp And That Is Alright, Experts Say
- New Zealand Develops New Drug To Fight 'Superbugs'
- NATO: Russia's Been Conducting Too Many Military Flights Over Europe
- Nokia Lumia 730 v. Sharp Aquos Crystal – Specifications, Features And Price Showdown
- Moto X 2014 vs. Motorola DROID Turbo - Specifications, Features And Price Showdown
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus vs Motorola Droid Turbo: Comparsion On Processor, Software And Battery
- Australia Special Forces Await 'Delayed' Iraqi Visas Before Joining ISIS Fight
- ISIS Has Been Equipped With Advanced Anti-Aircraft Missiles
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Motorola Droid Turbo – S-Pen Is Note’s 4 USP But Droid Turbo Can Outshine With Larger Battery