Tarantula venom has painkiller potential - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Tarantula venom has painkiller potential

Updated: Feb 25, 2014 02:50 PM
© CDC © CDC
  • HealthMore>>

  • Spouse's sunny outlook may be good for your health

    Spouse's sunny outlook may be good for your health

    Marriage vows often include the promise to stick together for better or for worse, and research now suggests that when it comes to your health, having an optimistic spouse is better.
    Marriage vows often include the promise to stick together for better or for worse, and research now suggests that when it comes to your health, having an optimistic spouse is better.
  • Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...
    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...
  • A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

    A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

    An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.
    An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.

TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Tarantula venom may hold the key to the development of a safe and effective new painkiller, according to a new study.

Yale University researchers found that a specific protein in the venom of the Peruvian green velvet tarantula blocks activity in nerve cells that transmit pain. They say the process they used to identify this protein could also search for millions of different spider toxins and lead to the development of other new pain medications.

"The likelihood is that within the vast diversity of spider toxins we will find others that are active against other channels important for pain," senior study author Michael Nitabach said in a Yale news release.

"The beauty of the system is we can also screen engineered toxins not found in nature," added Nitabach, an associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of genetics. By doing so, he said, they could identify more potent variations that would not harm essential nerve functions.

For the study published in the March 3 issue of Current Biology, the researchers analyzed more than 100 spider toxins from various tarantula species. They tested these toxins on "TRPA1" -- one of 12 suspected human pain channels. Located on the surface of nerve cells that sense pain, this channel is associated with inflammation and nerve pain.

The researchers found the one tarantula toxin, in particular, that blocked this pain channel but did not affect any other channels on the surface of nerve cells.

They say they plan to continue testing many thousands of new toxins that could produce similar pain-reducing effects.

More information

Visit the American Museum of Natural History to learn how various toxins may be used to develop new drugs and medical treatments.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.