Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bees -- Latest Weapon In Cancer Fight

Date:
March 4, 1999
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Scientists at CSIRO in Australia are modifying bee venom to develop cancer treatments that should have fewer side effects than other drugs used to fight the disease.

The sting of a bee may soon be used to kill cancer cells.

Related Articles


Scientists at CSIRO Molecular Science are modifying bee venom to develop cancer treatments that should have fewer side effects than other drugs used to fight the disease.

A research project to utilise an active ingredient from bee venom as a potential cure for cancer has been funded by a $670,000 grant from the Commonwealth Government's Industry Research and Development Board. Participants in the project, CSIRO, the Oncology Research Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital (POWH) and CSL, will contribute further funds towards the $1.3 million project.

The venom in the bee sting contains a number of active ingredients, the main one being mellitin, a molecule that kills cells by slicing through the cell walls, destroying the cells.

"What we have done is to modify the structure of the mellitin molecule to remove the part that causes the allergic reaction while still maintaining its ability to kill cells," CSIRO scientists Dr Werkmeister and Dr Hewish say.

One problem the researchers have to get around is targeting the killing activity of mellitin to cancer cells only and not to normal healthy cells. They plan to achieve this by attaching the modified mellitin to an antibody molecule that specifically recognises cancer cells. This combination of a toxin and an antibody is known as an immunotoxin.

The research team at CSIRO and POWH aims to produce immunotoxins as new cancer drugs that can attack a wide range of cancer cells. This approach should overcome the major drawbacks of chemotherapy treatment.

"Chemotherapy drugs are not specific; they attack normal cells thereby causing unwanted side effects such as hair loss, vomiting and weight loss. Such symptoms limit the amount of drug that can be administered and hence its effectiveness," Dr Hewish says.

The concept of using molecules such as immunotoxins as “magic bullets” for cancer treatment is not new and scientists have created a number of immunotoxin drugs with toxins derived from plants and bacteria. These immunotoxins, however, are extremely toxic and produce a number of serious side effects that limit their clinical application.

Dr Werkmeister points out that mellitin is far less toxic than the plant and bacterial toxins used in earlier work and thus new immunotoxin drugs from it may reduce potential side effects while still retaining the specific killing of target cancers.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to take some fundamental research observations and develop them into a potential drug to treat a major disease, such as cancer. It is especially pleasing to see an Australian innovation being supported by companies such as CSL Limited and the IR&D Board,” said Dr Simon Carroll, the divisional commercial development manager.

"We still have a fairly long way to go with this research. We are still some time from clinical application, but we are very optimistic," Dr Werkmeister concludes.

Pictures are available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.csiro.au/news/mediarel/mr1999/bee.html

More information:

Mr Warrick Glynn, warrick.glynn@molsci.csiro.au


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Bees -- Latest Weapon In Cancer Fight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990303200507.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (1999, March 4). Bees -- Latest Weapon In Cancer Fight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990303200507.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Bees -- Latest Weapon In Cancer Fight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990303200507.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) A meningitis outbreak in Niger has killed 85 people since the start of the year prompting authorities to close schools in the capital Niamey until Monday. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) More than half of Brazil&apos;s babies are born via cesarean section, as mothers and doctors opt for a faster and less painful experience despite the health risks. Duration: 02:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 24, 2015) The world&apos;s first anti-malaria vaccine could get the go-ahead for use in Africa from October if approved by international regulators. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins