Snail Venom contains a painkiller 100 times more powerful than morphine and it works at much lower doses without the risk of addiction.
Prialt is a powerful painkiller used when morphine no longer works. It is based on a component in the venom of a marine snail which is called Conus Magus and belongs to the cones group.
The snail uses the venom to paralyze the fish before eating them. This venom is made of a hundred or more different peptides.
Peptides are short strings of amino acids that form proteins. Most of the peptides inside the snail venom are harmful to people. But one particular peptide in the venom can dramatically reduce the pain.
Right now, Prialt is only used in cases of extreme unrelenting pain. Because there’s a major problem with the drug. It doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier.
The blood brain barrier is a highly selective membrane that prevents most compounds in the blood from entering the brain. That layer of protection prevents harmful substances form entering the brain. But if Prialt doesn’t get into the brain, it can’t ease pain. At this point, the drug can only be delivered through an injection into the spinal column.
Scientists have been looking for an easier way in they are using a “Trojan horse strategy” in which they put the peptide inside of a carrier, which is also called a viral Nano container.
It is a tiny receptacle made from proteins found in viruses then they shuttle it across the blood brain barrier. Using a cell penetrating peptide that can cut through all sorts of membranes including the highly selective blood brain barrier.
The system seems to work in laboratory testing the compound was still working three days later in rats. Researchers are hoping to repackage the drug in the future.
Inside a pill that you can swallow they findings will lead to a new pain therapy. For patients who had run out of options it offers a potential new pathway to prevent pain from developing.
This could reduce the uses of opioids , such as morphine which are addictive and can cause a number of serious side effects.
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