Snail venom / pain reliever

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Doe, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. Doe

    Doe Guest

    Snails give speedy pain relief! By Marttyn Halle, Daily Mail
    2 March 2004 Snail's venom is the unlikely source for a pain-
    killing drug said to be 1,000 times more potent than
    morphine, traditionally used for those suffering from
    conditions such as cancer and arthritis.

    Ziconotide has been synthesised from one of hundreds of
    venomous sea snails that live in shallow tropical waters.
    Specialists are hailing it as a breakthrough in the
    treatment of pain.

    Opiate-based drugs such as morphine have the drawback of
    being addictive, making patients drowsy and losing their
    effect if administered over a long time.

    Pharmaceutical firm Elan is expected to gain approval for
    ziconotide following trials in Europe and the United States.
    In the latest trial - results of which were published last
    month in the Journal Of The American Medical Association -
    almost 60 per cent of patients receiving the drug gained
    partial or full pain relief.

    Doctors treating pain say that a 60 per cent score is high,
    as often it is difficult to find just one drug that will
    work on a patient. Patients were given ziconotide after they
    had failed to respond to other treatments. The drug is
    slowly released into the bloodstream through a small
    infusion pump in the patient's stomach.

    A major benefit is that it can be used long-term without the
    dose wearing off and without it having to be increased
    significantly. Scientists hope that other drugs can be
    obtained from sea snails such as Conus Magnus, from which
    ziconotide has been developed. And they believe that snail
    venom - conotoxin - can be used to help treat other
    conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. There
    are hundreds of species of sea snail and each has its own
    set of toxins, which means there could be as many as 50,000

    Conotoxins could treat muscle spasticity following spinal
    injury and epilepsy, which is resistant to traditional
    medicines. A broad spectrum anti-epileptic agent is in the
    first stage of clinical trials.

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