Easing pain with tarantula venom

Photo credit: istockphoto.com

     
   

A protein in the venom of the Peruvian green velvet tarantula blunts activity in pain-transmitting neurons, Yale scientists have found. The new screening method the scientists used to identify the protein has the potential to scour through large numbers of spider toxins in search of safe pain drugs and therapies. “The likelihood is that within the vast diversity of spider toxins we will find others that are active against other channels important for pain,” said Michael Nitabach, Ph.D., J.D., associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology and of genetics, and senior author of the paper published in the journal Current Biology in March.


 

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