Directing Venom To Fight Cancer ACS Meeting News: Encapsulated venom peptide can skip healthy cells


Scorpion toxins may one day be useful as anticancer drugs.
Credit: Courtesy of Dipanjan Pan

Venom from scorpions or honeybees sounds like it wouldn’t do a person much good. But by directing a modified component just to tumors, researchers might leverage it into a drug.

Peptides in some venoms bind to cancer cells and block tumor growth and spread. But they have not yet been developed successfully as anticancer agents because they attack healthy cells too.

Bioengineer Dipanjan Pan and coworkers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, are now using polymeric nanoparticles to deliver venom toxin directly to cancer cells.

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