Does The Cure For Cancer Lie In A Brazilian Wasp?


The Polybia Paulista wasp. Photo credits: Prof Mario Palma/São Paulo/PA

The Polybia Paulista wasp. Photo credits: Prof Mario Palma/São Paulo/PA

According to research published in the Biophysical Journal, the venom of the Brazilian social wasp Polybia paulista contains a powerful anticancer ingredient called MP1 (Polybia-MP1). The article claims that the toxin is able to kill tumour cells without affecting healthy ones.

The research team created model cell membranes and exposed them to the toxin in order to study the mechanism behind this selective action.

Utilising biophysical techniques and imaging, researchers found that the MP1 toxin selectively attacks cancer cells because of the abnormal distribution of fatty molecules (lipids), which are to be found on the outside of the protective membranes of the cells.

During the interaction of the toxin and the lipids, the structure of the cell membranes becomes distorted and gaping holes appear which causes the molecules to start leaking out of the membranes. The cancer cells cannot function without these molecules, and they eventually die.

The toxin does not harm healthy cells because their lipids are on the inside of the cell’s inner membrane, not on the outside.
Dr Paul Beales, professor at the University of Leeds and co-author of the study says that cancer therapies that involve the interaction with the lipids of the tumour cell membranes could become “an entirely new class of anticancer drugs.”

Beales added, “This could be useful in developing new combination therapies, where multiple drugs are used simultaneously to treat a cancer by attacking different parts of the cancer cells at the same time.” [Source: Phys.Org]

The toxin has thus far been tested on bladder and prostate cancer cells, as well as on leukaemic cells, which are known to be resistant to various drugs, and has proven to be effective in inhibiting their growth.

The use of the Polybia paulista’s venom to fight cancer is a promising possibility, but more research is required and researchers say that the next step is to further study the mechanism of the MP1’s selective action as well as to boost its anticancer properties for clinical purposes.

Understanding the mechanism of action of this peptide will help in translational studies to further assess the potential for this peptide to be used in medicine,” concluded Beales.

Source: The Mind Unleashed



About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 18 January, 2016, in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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