Monday, November 02, 2009

Science Finds Healing in Halloween Horrors

(HealthDay News) -- Monsters, bloodsuckers and spiders, oh my!

Scary as they are, some of the creepiest, deadliest creatures roaming the night this Halloween are also teaching medical science new ways to heal.

Consider the venom of the dreaded scorpion, for example.

Dr. Hector Valdivia, a physiology professor at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison is isolating the paralyzing poisons that scorpions use to immobilize their victims. The ability of these toxins to mysteriously penetrate cell membranes -- with lethal results for unfortunate victims -- could end up benefiting mankind, by delivering drugs to otherwise impenetrable cells.

"If I have a piece of a drug that cannot penetrate the cell, I could couple it to the toxin so the toxin serves as a vehicle to carry cargo into the cell," Valdivia explained. The concept remains in the development phase, but Valdivia's lab has already figured out how to synthesize the toxins so they don't have to keep milking the arachnids for venom. Read more...

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