Bee venom has been shown to contain a component that may block tumor growth in new research that suggests it may be useful in treating some types of cancer.
In a study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, scientists separated proteins and peptides from bee, snake, and scorpion venom to test their anti-cancer properties, Time.com
They found that a specific component of bee venom, called melittin, prevents cancer cells from spreading without harming patients. Because bees only produce a small amount of venom, researchers made synthetic melittin in the lab to test their theory.
“We have safely used venom toxins in tiny nanometer-sized particles to treat breast cancer and melanoma cells in the laboratory,” lead researcher Dipanjan Pan said in a statement. “These particles, which are camouflaged from the immune system, take the toxin directly to the cancer cells, sparing normal tissue.”
Pan says the next step is to start trials. The findings were presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.
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