A new study has found that a toxin extracted from the venom of a South American rattlesnake can effectively relieve nerve pain,media reported. The study, from Brazil, showed that the toxicity of the venom could be reduced by wrapping it in tiny silica particles. It is reported that the rattlesnake toxin is the main neurotoxin found in the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus venom.
For decades, scientists have been studying the potential therapeutic power of the toxin, from anti-inflammatory effects to anti-cancer potential.
Gisele Picolo, one of the researchers involved in the new study, said: “I have been studying rattlesnake toxin since 2011. The results are positive in terms of analgesic effects, but their toxicity has always been a limitation. “
How to reduce the harmful toxicity of rattlesnake toxin while maintaining or even enhancing its therapeutic effect has become a major challenge for researchers. Now, a potential solution to this obstacle has emerged.
The goal of an effective vaccine is to stimulate the body’s natural immune response.
Osvaldo Sant’Anna is known to have been working to encapsulate vaccine antigens in mesoporous silica particles, and its research has found that when antigens are injected into mesoporous silica particles, mice produce more antibodies to form more effective vaccines. In other trials using silica, the protective effect was found, which essentially reduced the effectiveness of the toxin.
Osvaldo Sant’Anna said that in tests conducted in horses against diphtheria serum and tetanus toxin, they found that silica reduced the effectiveness of antigens while reducing the side effects of diphtheria toxin.
The findings prompted Picolo and his colleagues to begin studying whether these mesoporous silica particles could effectively release rattlesnake toxins. The first animal tests showed that the rattlesnake toxin/silica formula was indeed less toxic than using rattlesnake toxin alone. In fact, when encapsulated in silica particles, the researchers were able to use a 35 percent dose of rattlesnake toxin.
Subsequent experiments have found that the new rattlesnake toxin formulation not only effectively relieves acute and chronic neuropathic pain, but also extends the total analgesic time when silicon dioxide is used. The new honeycomb-like structure of silica particles prevents rattlesnake toxins from being broken down in the stomach, meaning it allows patients to take it orally.
Although the current study looks promising, the study is still in its early stages. So far, no researchers have published papers on the program in human trials, and even if it has been shown to be clinically effective, it will have to overcome a number of other obstacles before it can actually be put into use.
Picolo added: “The rattlesnake toxin is a macromolecule with a complex structure that is difficult to replicate in the laboratory, so it will take a long time to use it on a large scale.” “