Spider venom – gateway to new treatment options

Spider venom – gateway to new treatment options

Spider venom has always been the less travelled path with most of the scientists spending time experimenting snake venoms instead of spider venoms. Now, a team of potential scientists from Switzerland has dug deep into spider venoms to find out new treatment opportunities. They had actually conducted the study to understand the adverse impacts of spider venoms, instead came up with interesting findings. While snake venoms attack cardiovascular system, spider venoms attack nervous system of humans. Deeper understanding of spider venoms can help find treatment for health problems like epilepsy, stroke etc. Scientists already know that arachnid venom causes a breakdown in the function of ion channels. These channels must be able to open and close at specific times in order to control muscles and other critical bodily processes. The study was done mainly based on the venom of Cupiennius salei — more commonly known as the tiger wandering spider. Instead of spinning a web and killing preys, this type of spider catches prey by ambushing and releasing its venom. Studies show that their venom exhibits a dual prey-inactivation strategy. One part is decidedly neurotoxic, and the other part aims to disturb stability within the body. "Both parts of the strategy interact very closely," explains lead study author Lucia Kuhn-Nentwig, Ph.D. Scientists believe that, spider venoms are much more than mere toxins and they are an amalgam of many substances that have the ability to attack, paralyze and kill organisms in many different ways.