When most people think of deadly insect venom, they imagine being rushed to the hospital, probably as they writhe in excruciating pain. But the researchers at Venomtech are working to transform these toxic substances into lifesaving medicines. By isolating specific chemical components in some of the most dangerous insect venom they hope to develop powerful drugs that could possibly be used to treat such life threatening medical conditions as cancer and antibiotic resistant staphylococcus.
The Venomtech laboratory houses approximately 400 different insects that the researchers “milk” for venom. They then separate the different chemical components in order to isolate and catalogue them, searching for ones that can be possibly used to develop new drugs. The researchers then go through the different chemical components and try to match them with specific diseases. With the increased use of antibiotics in the medical world, “superbug” bacteria have emerged that are resistant to the medicine traditionally used to fight them. So, discovering and developing new methods of killing these bacteria is vital to the future of medicine.
What kinds of medical and health issues do you think spider venom could possibly be utilized for?