Those fighting to find a cure for breast cancer have found an unlikely ally: the deadly venom from funnel-web spiders and tarantulas.
Researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Bioscience are studying the intricate mix of molecules in the venom, in hopes that it could yield a natural cure for breast cancer.
The research team, led by Dr. David Wilson, who has collected venom from the fangs of 10 Australian funnel-web spiders, will isolate 300 molecules present in the venom and expose them to cancer cells to see their response.
“They are designed to target very specific sites and we are hoping that some of these molecules target cancer cells,” Wilson said of the molecules present in funnel-web venom.
In previous studies, scorpion venom has shown promise as a cancer fighter.
“We are hoping spider toxins will do the same thing for breast cancer, or do even more and kill the breast cancer cells,” Dr. Norelle Daly said in an interview.