Spider venom may offer stroke therapy

Spider venom may offer stroke therapy

A protein in spider venom may help protect the brain from injury after a stroke, according to research.

Scientists found a single dose of the protein Hi1a worked on lab rats.

They said it showed "great promise as a future stroke treatment" but had not yet been tested in human trials.

The Stroke Association said the research was at its early stages but it would "welcome any treatment that has the potential to reduce the damage caused by stroke".

The researchers, from the University of Queensland and Monash University, travelled to Fraser Island in Australia to hunt for and capture three potentially deadly Australian funnel web spiders.


They then took the spiders back to their laboratory "for milking".

This involved coaxing the spider to release its venom, which can then be sucked up using pipettes.

The scientists honed in on a protein in the venom and recreated a version of it in their lab.

They then injected this Hi1a into the lab rats.

Spider venom may offer stroke therapy

Spider venom may offer stroke therapy

Spider venom may offer stroke therapy

They found that the protein blocked acid-sensing ion channels in the brain - something the researchers say are key drivers of brain damage after stroke.

Prof Glenn King, who led the research, said the protein showed "great promise as a future stroke treatment".

"We believe that we have, for the first time, found a way to minimise the effects of brain damage after a stroke.

"Hi1a even provides some protection to the core brain region most affected by oxygen deprivation, which is generally considered unrecoverable due to the rapid cell death caused by stroke."

The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr Kate Holmes, deputy director for Research at the Stroke Association, said: "We do not have an accurate picture of what happens in human brains from this research, therefore, it is currently unknown if this could be a successful treatment option for humans in the future.

"We welcome any treatment that has the potential to reduce the damage caused by stroke, particularly if this can benefit people who are unable to arrive at hospital quickly.

"Current treatments must be given in half this time period, and it is too early for us to know if this research can offer an alternative for stroke patients.

"We urge for stroke to be treated as an emergency - the sooner a person can get to hospital after a stroke, the sooner the right treatment can be received, which can improve survival and help recovery."



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Western Digital resubmits Toshiba chip unit bid

Western Digital resubmits Toshiba chip unit bid..

27-Jun, 04:42

Western Digital has resubmitted its bid for Toshiba's flagship flash...

Khloe Kardashian shuts down pregnancy rumours after sharing 'dad and mom' photo with boyfriend Tristan Thompson after he threw her surprise 33rd birthday party

Khloe Kardashian shuts down pregnancy rumours after sharing 'dad and mom' photo with boyfriend..

27-Jun, 04:24

In the pictures, Khloe and her NBA player beau put on a romantic display,...

Diana's threatening phone calls to the Duchess of Cornwall are revealed in a SHOCKING biography about Camilla

Diana's threatening phone calls to the Duchess of Cornwall are revealed in a SHOCKING..

27-Jun, 05:55

The Duchess of Cornwall’s relationship with Charles began in 1971, after...

Liu Xiaobo: China tells US not to interfere over jailed dissident

Liu Xiaobo: China tells US not to interfere over jailed dissident..

27-Jun, 09:30

Beijing has hit back at Washington for "irresponsible remarks" after the...

Prank Wars: YouTube's 'Craziest Couple'

Prank Wars: YouTube's 'Craziest Couple'..

05-Mar, 01:38

They're now called YouTube's "craziest couple." But in October of 2007,...

Bank of Japan keeps policy steady, upgrades economic outlook

Bank of Japan keeps policy steady, upgrades economic outlook..

16-Jun, 00:36

The Bank of Japan has opted to keep its lax monetary policy intact, while...

Special aide to Brazil's Temer arrested in corruption probe

Special aide to Brazil's Temer arrested in corruption probe..

23-May, 13:57

A special aide to embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer has been...

Bangladesh arrests 27 men on suspicion of being gay

Bangladesh arrests 27 men on suspicion of being gay..

19-May, 05:32

Authorities in Bangladesh on Friday arrested 27 men on suspicion of being...