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Home Industry News Scorpion venom ‘could help cut heart bypass failures’

Scorpion venom ‘could help cut heart bypass failures’

27th October 2010

New research at the University of Leeds has found that a certain type of scorpion venom could prove key in preventing heart bypass failures.

The Medical Research Council (MRC)-sponsored study showed that margatoxin, which is found in the venom of the Central American bark scorpion, is extremely effective in preventing neointimal hyperplasia, a biological process that often causes vein grafts to fail.

Researchers expressed shock at the efficacy of the toxin, which was shown to be at least 100 times more effective in this application than any other known compound, requiring only a few molecules to take effect.

Although margatoxin is unlikely to be suitable in an ingested or injected drug, it could be used as a spray-on treatment for veins that are to be grafted onto the heart.

Professor David Beech from the university's faculty of biological sciences said: "There were a number of good blockers of this ion channel available to screen … but margatoxin was the most potent of all these compounds by a significant margin."

Last week, the MRC welcomed the government's decision to maintain funding levels for important scientific research in its Spending Review.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-800160901-ADNFCR

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