Crotoxin, derived from the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus, has been studied for almost a hundred years for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor actions and as an even more powerful muscle paralyzer than botulinum toxin. Nonetheless, the toxicity of crotoxin limits its medicinal use.
A new study, revealed by Brazilian researchers in the journal Toxins, exhibits that crotoxin’s therapeutic effects might be enhanced and its toxicity reduced when it’s encapsulated in nanostructured SBA-15 silica, a cloth initially created for use in vaccine formulations.
The research was performed under the aegis of Brazil’s National Science and Technology Institute on Toxins, one of the INCTs backed by FAPESP in São Paulo State in partnership with the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), a department of the Brazilian government.
The research was part of the doctoral research of Morena Brazil Sant’Anna, whose thesis advisor is Gisele Picolo. She was the principal investigator for a project on the same subject. Scientists Flavia Souza Ribeiro Lopes and Louise Faggionato Kimura participated in the research, which was carried out at Butantan Institute in São Paulo.
Osvaldo Sant’Anna is the main investigator for a Thematic Project at Butantan Institute to learn mesoporous silica as a vaccine adjuvant in partnership with Márcia Fantini, a professor at the University of São Paulo’s Physics Institute (IF-USP).