By Janice Tieperman
Be it a family member, friend or acquaintance, nearly everybody has a connection to cancer. As the second-highest cause of death in the United States, its devastating diagnosis has often been faced with grim results—but the field of modern science may have just uncovered a beacon of hope for all of those currently battling cancer.
The source of this breakthrough is ironic in the sense of how it may aid those currently afflicted the disease; after all, the solution scientists are looking into comes in the form of Brazilian wasp venom.
General venom has been noted for its ability to kill bacteria, but a new study has revealed there might be much more potential to this seemingly annoying substance.
The specific name of the wasp with these curing capabilities is Polybia paulista, which contains a substance in its venom referred to in scientific terminology as MP1.
This molecule works similar to a canine police dog, as it sniffs out cells with specific markers on the outside of the cell that are signs of potential cancer cells.
However, unlike the police dogs, MP1 takes it to the next level and destroys these cells before they can multiply in a malignant fashion.
Co-senior study authors Paul Beales and João Ruggerio Neto, of University of Leeds and São Paulo State University respectively, have been exploring the different compositions of these cells and seeing just how MP1 is affecting them.
“Cancer therapies that attack the lipid composition of the cell membrane would be an entirely new class of anticancer drugs,” Beales told to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
When MP1 goes about its purifying process, it has to first attach itself to the outside of the cell marked as unhealthy before it can actually go about destroying the cell. While this means that this new treatment might not be an instant reprieve for those with cancer, it will certainly be an improvement.
The way this new treatment differs from the standard chemotherapy is that, unlike chemo, this venom only targets bad cells and leaves the normal cells alone.
Chemo, on the other hand, destroys both good and bad cells, leaving the body extremely weakened by the time of its completion.
If this remedy makes it to the public markets, the cancer patient could be looking at a much less physically draining and rigorous treatment process.
Of course, the venom is still in the early stages of development and exploration, and has only been tested on rats thus far.
While there is still a great deal of testing that has to be done, Beales and Neto remain optimistic that this new study will garner much medicinal potential, according to the AAAS.
With any luck, this new study may help to kick cancer to the curb permanently and give hope to millions of Americans.
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