Scientists may be excited about the prospect of a new class of painkillers derived from spider venom, but will Big Pharma go for them if they’re not highly addictive? From the Wall Street Journal:
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Scientists in Australia, home to some of the most poisonous creatures on Earth, have made an important discovery about spider venom that eventually could lead to a new class of painkillers.
Spiders use their venom to immobilize or kill their prey. Researchers from the University of Queensland isolated seven peptides—the building blocks of proteins—in spider venom that blocked the molecular pathway responsible for sending pain signals from the nerves to the brain. One peptide in particular, from a Borneo orange-fringed tarantula, had the right structure, stability and potency to potentially become a painkilling drug, the researchers said.