January 10, 2013

To most people they’re creepy, crawly, and sometimes dangerous, but for patients in need of drugs to treat diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure, snakes may literally be the cure. Scientists in the UK have discovered that toxins in snake venom could potentially be used in the making of drugs that treat severe medical conditions.

According to researchers, “The venom gland of snakes appears to be a melting pot for evolving new functions for molecules, some of which are retained in venom for killing prey, while others go on to serve new functions in other tissues in the body.” While snake venom can be deadly, scientists have now figured out how to modify the toxins to retain potency and make them safe for general use, as they’ve done for the blood pressure drug, Catopril. But the researchers’ discovery that there may be many harmless versions of venom toxins throughout a snake’s body opens the door to a whole new era of drug discovery.

To learn more about this new discovery in the field of medicine, take a look at the article from Medical News Today.