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Proceedings Paper

Snake oil and venoms for medical research
Author(s): H. D. Wolpert
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Paper Abstract

Some think that using derivatives of snake venom for medical purposes is the modern version of snake oil but they are seriously misjudging the research potentials of some of these toxins in medicines of the 2000's. Medical trials, using some of the compounds has proven their usefulness. Several venoms have shown the possibilities that could lead to anticoagulants, helpful in heart disease. The blood clotting protein from the taipan snake has been shown to rapidly stop excessive bleeding. The venom from the copperhead may hold an answer to breast cancer. The Malaysian pit viper shows promise in breaking blood clots. Cobra venom may hold keys to finding cures for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. Rattlesnake proteins from certain species have produced blood pressure medicines. Besides snake venoms, venom from the South American dart frog, mollusks (i.e. Cone Shell Snail), lizards (i.e. Gila Monster & Komodo Dragon), some species of spiders and tarantulas, Cephalopods, mammals (i.e. Platypus & Shrews), fish (i.e. sting rays, stone fish, puffer fish, blue bottle fish & box jelly fish), intertidal marine animals (echinoderms)(i.e. Crown of Thorn Star Fish & Flower Urchin) and the Honeybee are being investigated for potential medical benefits.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 March 2011
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7975, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication, 79750W (23 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.871107
Show Author Affiliations
H. D. Wolpert, Bio-Optics (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7975:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication
Raúl J. Martín-Palma; Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Editor(s)

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