The venom the scorpion is being studied in Colima, Mexico, as a possible means to stem the growth of cancer cells and provide a boost in dopamine for Parkinson’s sufferers.
Native to Mexico, the Centruroides tecomanus is the species of scorpion being investigated at University of Colima. Researchers have isolated about one hundred proteins from the scorpion venom, and tested each on cancer cells in the lab. These particular cancer cells were from lymphoma, but the researchers believe the venom proteins may be just as effective on other types of cancer cells.
“Our interest is for the cell to be selectively removed. We have found that these peptides have affinity with these cells, that is, they could specifically bind to them and induce cancer death,” head of research Laura Leticia Valdez Velazquez commented.
The precise mechanism in these proteins that leads to cancer cell eradication is not understood, but initial results are so promising that other trials will follow.
Another promising avenue for the use of venom proteins is in treating Parkinson’s disease. Scorpion venom increases production of dopamine, a chemical lacking for those who have Parkinson’s. The same investigative team experimented on animals to show a significant gain in dopamine production after exposure to scorpion toxins.