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
Disability and sex

Disability and sex..

25-Mar, 09:58

Sex and relationships for disabled people can give rise to unspoken...

Scarlett Moffatt hilariously quizzed on her Disney knowledge by three youngsters

Scarlett Moffatt hilariously quizzed on her Disney knowledge by three youngsters..

24-Mar, 22:36

The poker-faced trio met Scarlett in an interview, and asked her several...

UN Says Attacks on Heritage Sites Could Be War Crimes

UN Says Attacks on Heritage Sites Could Be War Crimes..

24-Mar, 21:46

FILE - This photo released March 28, 2016, by the Syrian official news...

Petrol and diesel prices cut amid pressure on retailers

Petrol and diesel prices cut amid pressure on retailers..

24-Mar, 14:02

Motorists will see an acceleration in fuel price cuts over the weekend as...

Katey Sagal talks explosive new memoir, KISS's Gene Simmons

Katey Sagal talks explosive new memoir, KISS's Gene Simmons..

24-Mar, 01:14

Katey Sagal was the heartbeat of the popular '80s sitcom "Married With...

US Watchdog Offers Bleak Statistics for Afghan Progress

US Watchdog Offers Bleak Statistics for Afghan Progress..

01-Feb, 00:38

A U.S. watchdog has issued a bleak report, its first to the Trump...

Hungary Leader Orban Says It's Time to Take Trump Seriously

Hungary Leader Orban Says It's Time to Take Trump Seriously..

26-Jan, 11:28

Hungary's prime minister says there is an opportunity for the European...

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks has decided to give details of CIA hacking tools to tech companies

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks has decided to give details of CIA hacking tools to tech companies..

09-Mar, 10:20

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks has decided to give details of CIA hacking...