Sea anemones venom key to Multiple Sclerosis treatment
The purple sea anemone awaits passing prey, which it stings with its venom-filled tentacles. Credit: David Doubilet
(Medical Xpress) -- Sea anemones use venomous stinging tentacles to stun their prey, but one component of that venom is being used by researchers to treat the debilitating effects of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
A new class of drug treatment is about to commence clinical trials, as the result of a decade-long investigation by Professor Ray Norton, from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and his collaborators, who in the mid 1990s found a component of venom called ShK in the Caribbean sea anemone.
The researchers found ShK blocks the Kv1.3 potassium channel located in white blood cells, known as T-cells, which are known to produce nerve damage in MS, one of the most common and debilitating diseases of the nervous system.
Professor Norton has since collaborated with a team of scientists in the United States investigating potassium channels as targets for the development of novel immunosuppressive agents.
With potassium channels controlling all sorts of key functions in the human body, developing a drug without unwanted side effects would have been impossible had it not turned out that the Kv1.3 potassium channel is found only on T-cells and in the nose. Because of this limited distribution, the researchers were able to develop a highly selective immune suppressant derived from the sea anemone peptide.
"This research shows that we may be able to effectively treat the disease while protecting the immune system," Professor Norton said.
Continuously blocking these T-cell channels with ShK should prevent further nerve damage, even after the initial onset of symptoms, including paralysis. If the clinical trials are successful, this could prove an effective treatment for MS.
Professor Norton said ShK is one of the most potent inhibitors known for these channels.
The next step is to find out what dose works best to treat MS and at what stage of the disease treatment should begin," Professor Norton said.
A close relative of corals and jellyfish, sea anemones spend most of their time attached to rocks on the sea floor or on coral reefs waiting for crustaceans and small fish to pass close enough to get entangled in their venom-filled tentacles.
Provided by Monash University
- Researchers use honeybee venom toxin to develop a new tool for studying hypertension Sep 17, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists discover how to design drugs that could target particular nerve cells Nov 10, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- MS research: Myelin influences how brain cells send signals Jul 21, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- A new drug to manage resistant chronic pain Apr 30, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists discover a ‘handbrake’ for MS Apr 26, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Learning curve of Electromagnetism?
3 hours ago I'm taking a first year physics course and have been having a little trouble with the basics of newtons laws and forces and whatnot, though nothing...
thin glass in liquid
4 hours ago I have one question about optics because I start interested in it. If an object is placed a distance p from a thin glass lens (index of refraction...
How many joules expended for a push up?
7 hours ago Just wondering if any of you can do the calculation that well approximates the amount of joules expended by a push up.
force to keep the folding doors
7 hours ago Hello, I would like to ask you to calculate the force F, which needed to keep the folding doors in this position. I would like to know what is the...
Confusion regarding direction of kinetic friction on inclined plane.
8 hours ago *please help! * The formula for kinetic friction acting on a sliding body is μkN When the body is sliding with constant velocity down an...
14 hours ago Alright, so in Pathfinder (like Dungeons and Dragons) there's a spell that allows you to lift/move stuff within 25 ft with 5 pounds of force. A...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Raising hopes for cell-based therapies, UC San Francisco researchers have created the first functioning human thymus tissue from embryonic stem cells in the laboratory. The researchers showed that, in mice, ...
Immunology May 16, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 0 |
Researchers from CNRS, Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier and IRD have elucidated new molecular mechanisms involved in resistance to visceral leishmaniasis, a serious parasitic infection. They have shown that dectin-1 ...
Immunology May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Women's immune systems age more slowly than men's, suggests research in BioMed Central's open access journal Immunity & Ageing. The slower decline in a woman's immune system may contribute to women living longer than men. ...
Immunology May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Newly described type of immune cell and T cells share similar path to maturity, according to new study
(Medical Xpress)—Labs around the world, and a core group at Penn, have been studying recently described populations of immune cells called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). Some researchers liken them to foot soldiers that ...
Immunology May 14, 2013 | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Cytokines are molecules produced by immune cells that induce the migration of other cells to sites of infection or injury, promote the production of anti-microbial agents, and signal the production of inflammatory ...
Immunology May 13, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
16 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0