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Why Snake Venom Might Not Be All That Bad By: Karlyn Jensen And Jacquie Scurlock
Introduction: • Snakes have been used medicinally since the 1 st Century AD. • At this time in China, they used snake skin to treat a variety of ailments, including hemorrhoids, sore throats, and eye infections.
Introductions: • China still uses snake materials for a variety of different things: – – – Skin problems Sore throat Rheumatic pain Appetite stimulant Hemorrhoids Eye infections Virility Bronchitis Leukemia Fever Whooping cough
Native American uses for Rattlesnakes • Shed Skin – Fever – Smallpox – Blood Cleanser • Fat and Oil – – – Aches Bruises Athritis Rheumatism Sciatica • Powdered Rattle – – Leprosy Pustules Toothache Headaches • Flesh – Emphysema – Tuberculosis
Introduction: • The use of snake materials in medicine finally made it to the U. S. in the 19 th century, when Chinese railroad workers brought snake oil with them from China to rub on their swollen and painful joints. • This led to the start of the modern medical investigation of the uses of snake materials, especially venom.
Introduction: • Although snake venom is very costly, it is often used in medical research. • Venom from different types of snakes has been proposed to help treat asthma, blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, HIV, ALS, MS, AMN, cancer, epilepsy, and to work as analgesics.
Introduction: • It is estimated that 99% of the contents of snake venom are non-toxic. • A crucial part of the study of snake venom is finding a way to detoxify the venom so that it can be researched and used in medical treatments.
Introduction: • We selected this topic because when most people think about snake venom, visions of debilitating, often deadly bodily reactions usually come to mind. This however, is not always the case. Venom can be used beneficially in a variety of situations. We were interested in exposing the positive side of venom, and learning more about its numerous uses.
Introduction: • This topic is of a great medical importance because it has the possibility of producing cures or treatments to a large number of diseases. Diseases such as cancer and HIV that have thus far not been curable may be curable in the future through the use of snake venom.
Results and Discussion:
Antivenom: • Binds to and neutralizes venom, preventing further damage. • Unfortunately, it does not repair the damage already done. • 2 classes – Monovalent: effective against a specific species. – Polyvalent: effective against several different species.
Antivenom: • Side effects – Anaphylaxis: an immediate severe lifethreatening allergic reaction. – Serum sickness: a delayed immune response, a reaction to proteins in serum (antivenom) from an animal source. Antivenoms are usually given with antihistamines and hydrocortisones.
Antivenom: • The United States has antivenom for pit vipers. • But in the fall of 2009, the Coral snake antivenom will expire. – The US will no longer have any antivenom for the Coral snake. • Tiger snake – Protein: Notechis scutatus inhibitor. – Neutralizes the venom of 6 other snakes.
Analgesic Effects: • One toxin, called najanalgesin, has been isolated from the Naja Atra cobra. It has been shown to have significant analgesic effects in tests involving animals. • Najanalgesin was the first cardiotoxin shown to have analgesic effects.
Analgesic Effects: • A toxin in the venom of the South American rattlesnake has been shown to also have analgesic properties. • Even though this toxin works by binding to opioid receptors, it has not been shown to produce any tolerance or withdrawal symptoms, which is rare.
Analgesic Effects: • The continued investigation of this toxin could revolutionize medicine with the invention of a pain killer with effects similar to that of Percocet, Oxycontin, or Vicodin, without the risk of tolerance or withdrawal. • This development could significantly reduce the abuse of and addiction to pain killers.
Multiple Sclerosis: • The use of snake venom in the treatment of multiple sclerosis is still highly controversial, and many MS treatments involving snake venom are currently forbidden by the FDA. • However, at least three different venom derivatives (PROven, RPI-78 M, and Cobratoxin) have been shown in tests to help patients with MS.
Multiple Sclerosis: • PROven, a medication developed by Bill Haast, started to be prescribed by some doctors in Florida for a variety of diseases in the late 1970’s. It was shown to have great results, especially in patients with MS. The drug, however, had never gone through clinical testing, and was quickly banned by the FDA. • It has been suggested that this medication could be used for arthritis, herpes, lupus, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s and ALS. • A drug similar to PROven, called Horvi MS 9 is currently being sold legally in Germany for the treatment of such diseases.
Multiple Sclerosis: • Nutra Pharma is currently in the development process of a drug called RPI-78 M. • This drug is being developed to treat MS, but is also expected to be useful in the treatment of myasthenia gravis, muscular dystrophy, and ALS. • This medication has several positive features that may make it superior to other MS drugs: – It is not toxic, meaning it is not possible for the patient to overdose. – It is stable for a shelf life of over 4 years at room temperature. – It is easy to administer, and can be taken orally.
Multiple Sclerosis: • Cobratoxin, which comes from the venom of the Thailand cobra, can be detoxified for human use with minimal side effects. • It has been shown to have immunosuppressive, neuromodulatory, antiviral, and analgesic effects in patients with MS. • Another drug class, which includes ancrod, batroxobin, and crotalase, treats MS by preventing fibrin from crossing the blood-brain barrier and collecting near myelin sheaths.
HIV: • Nutra Pharma is also involved in the development of another drug similar to RPI -78 M that could be used to treat patients with HIV. • This medication, called RPI-MN, works by preventing the entry of certain viruses into body systems; especially viruses that cause neurological damage.
Cancer: • Venom is being used in research with numerous types of cancers. • One example of this research is with breast cancer. Contortrostatin is a protein from Copperhead venom which has been shown to slow the growth of tumors and cancer cells, and prevent them from spreading to other parts of the body.
Cancer: • Studies in Australia are trying to show venom can be used to cut off blood supply to tumors. • Venom may become an even better cancer treatment than chemotherapy, because chemotherapy kills everything, both healthy and cancerous cells. But some venom derived treatments appear to be specific to certain cell types.
Strokes: • There is a medicine called t-PA that can be used to treat strokes, but it has to be administered within three hours after the stroke. The problem with that is that strokes are frequently noticed right away. Because they impair brain function, and often prevent speech, it might be hours or even days before the effects of a stroke are noticed. By then, it is too late for the t-PA. A venom derivative called Viprinex, or ancrod, can be used to treat a stroke within six hours after, doubling the amount of time within which treatment may be administered.
Strokes: • Ancrod comes from the venom of the Malayan Pit Viper. • It works against a stroke in 3 ways: – It prevents the formation of new clots. – It breaks down the already existing clots. – It thins the blood, which increases blood flow to the brain.
Strokes: • Ancrod is being tested in clinical trials worldwide, and has been shown to decease blood viscosity by 30 -40%. It also leads to decreased pain and increased physical mobility. • Ancrod is also a treatment for - - Deep vein thrombosis (formation of a blood clot in a deep vein) http: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=g Gr. DAGN 5 p. C 0 -Chronic circulatory disorders such as Raynaud’s disease (uneven blood flow to digits).
Heart Attacks: • A common problem with angioplasties is that during the surgery, the break up of the plaque can lead to the formation of blood clots. One way to reduce the risk of this happening is to use a venom derivative called Reo. Pro. The IV form of this drug uses an integrin antagonist, which blocks the binding of integrin and fibrinogen to prevent blood clots. • Another venom derivative, Aggrastat, called the “Super aspirin, ” also works by preventing blood clots.
Coagulation: • Snake venom can have one of two effects on the coagulation process: it can either promote rapid clotting, or prevent it completely. • The promotion of rapid clotting is currently being investigated for use in traumas to prevent high volume blood loss.
ACE Inhibitors: • Snake venom also led to the development of ACE inhibitors. • They were developed by using venom from the Brazilian snake. • Ace inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure and several other cardiovascular diseases.
Arthritis: • Researches in Israel are using viper venom to try to relieve the pain of arthritis. One doctor got this idea when he noticed that Russian immigrants brought salves with them made of viper venom that they used to soothe muscular and arthritis pain. Researchers there expect to be able to start marketing an arthritis salve made with viper venom within the next five years.
Anti-Aging A toxin called Syn-ake, which comes from the venom of the Temple Viper, has recently been added to at least two skin care products. This product helps to stop wrinkles by preventing the facial muscles from contracting. It seems to work. It had a smoothing effect on 80% of those in the clinical sample, and an anti-wrinkle effect on 73%.
Over-All Health Benefits: Bill Haast, the inventor of PROven, has been handling and raising snakes for years, and at the age of 85, he had been bitten 162 times, and claims to inject himself with a venom cocktail once a week. However, he also seems to be incredibly healthy. Today, as he nears 100, Bill still looks like he might be in his 60’s, and is still running around like someone much younger. He also claims to have never been sick, not even with a cold, and to never have taken medicine, not even an aspirin. Although there is no scientific evidence proving that Haast’s good health has anything to do with snake venom, clearly something is working in his favor. Haast is set to turn 100 next year, and is still reportedly in good health.
Bill Haast (center) at age 97.
Conclusion: • The aforementioned cases are only a few examples of the many areas in which snake venom is being investigated as a treatment method. Currently, venom is being tested in almost every area imaginable. • The clear message from all of these cases is that venom does have several health benefits, and many more discoveries about its uses are sure to be made in the near future.
Conclusions: • After researching the many medicinal uses of venom, a definite take home message should be not to discount any possible treatment method. After all, if a material that can cause sudden death can also cause substantial healing, nothing should be overlooked when seeking out cures and treatments.
References: • • 2008 - Bill Haast honored by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Venom Response Unit Photo. http: //www. pbase. com/donboyd/image/100345393 "Antivenom. " Wikipedia. 17 April 2009. 22 Apr 2009
References Continued: • • • "Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research. " National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 19 March 2009. National Institutes of Health. 12 Apr 2009
References Continued: • • "Snake venom may have medical use, " United Press International 6 March 2006. Web. 19 March 2009.