The University of Melbourne’s Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Pharmacology have over recent years identified cone shell venom as a potential treatment for chronic pain in humans.
Researchers continue to develop the research into a commercialised product. One of the venom peptides identified is currently in phase two of clinical trials.
Cone snails (cone shells) inject their prey with toxic venom, which paralyses and eventually kills. Some 30 humans have died from cone snail envenomation.
The venom is a cocktail of potent peptides that each target specific nerve channels or receptors involved in vital body functions, such as muscle contraction.
Associate Professor Bruce Livett who is leading the research says the finding that cone snail analgesics are effective in humans, has opened a Pandora’s Box of potential drugs from the sea for commercial development as clinical pharmaceuticals.
For further information: University of Melbourne’s Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Pharmacology, Dr. Bruce Livett,
Tel: +61 3 8344 2322/5911, Email: