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It's Possible Venom From Cone Snails Can Subside Pain and Spasticity

July 24, 2015

If you’ve been in search of a solution to your neuropathic pain, snails just might be the solution to your problem. These snails are known as predatory marine life because of the use of their venom to paralyze other fish for consumption, but a study conducted by researchers in Australia have found other use from this venom. The venom releases a synthetic form of conotoxin, ziconotide, which is currently only on the market for intrathecal use.

While the snail’s venom is delivered through their hypodermic radula, researchers are interested in the range of ion channels and receptors that are shown from the peptides included in the conotoxins. They are particularly attracted to the windows this discovery could open for pain research, which includes calcium, potassium and sodium channels, as well as noradrenaline transporters and 5HT3 receptors. This is a result of the fact that almost a million different peptides are included in these conotoxins.

These conotoxin peptides could be used for more than pain, but also in neuromuscular disorders, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, stroke, nicotine addiction and depression. Although this is still being observed, the future of the therapeutic field looks promising to researchers.

The cost of production does appear to be somewhat problematic when pertaining to the development of the drug, which is based on the conotoxin peptides. To get around this difficult area, it was suggested that maybe edible plant-based formulas could be created to lessen the overall costs.

Senior scientist at the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Johan Svenson, while not involved in the research said that the peptide work that was performed by the Craik group is “Truly pioneering and represents plausible steps towards both classical and novel types of therapeutics in the future.”