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Bee Venom as Alternative Cancer Treatment

September 10-2014 - Ateam of researchershas succeeded in blocking the proliferation of cancer cells by injecting them with bee venom, Apitoxin, or honey bee venom. This is new hope for cancer patients. 


For most people, honey bees are just provider of food and sweetener. But they are more useful than that; they have ANTI-CANCER properties. Bees are definitely wonderful insects. They play major role in pollination, in addition to many benefits of the products from their hives they offer. But most people had no idea until now that their venom could even be used to fight cancer, this serious illness which causes people to shed tears all over the world.  


A team of researchers from the University of Illinois, led by Professor Pan Dipanjan, has succeeded in blocking the proliferation of cancer cells by injecting bee venom in cultured cells. Specifically, they have used toxins of venoms which contain melittin protein (
a small protein containing 26 amino acid residues), capable of binding to the membranes of cancer cells and thus act as tumor agent. Their work was presented Monday, August 11 on the website of the American Chemical Society (ACS), a scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry.  

                                                                  
The scientists manufactured
the melittin synthetically and injected in a kind of nanocapsules that are designed to release the protein at the right time when they reach the tumor, in order to
 battle the cancer cells without harming healthy cells.    


“The toxins we produced are so well compacted inside the nanoparticles that they do not flow down whenthey are in the bloodstream”, says Dipanjan Pan, senior author of the study. A trick that would thus avoid the risk of adverse side effects (muscle or nerve damage or internal bleeding) in the case where the toxins from the venom would be released into the blood of cancer patients.  


Test results presented are very satisfying, said the researchers. Indeed, melittin did not trigger any side effects, which is the main issue of other conventional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  In addition, the compound of the venom was grafted directly on cancer cells, stopping at the same time their evolution and propagation.  

           
The scientists now
 plan to test the compound in animals, and if the results are positive, they will try it in humans, in the next five years.

 

This is a giant step in the efforts of medical scientists to finally find present to the world a cancer treatment with fewer side effects and better prognosis.