Black Mamba venom may replace Morphine

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: In nature, the whole plant or animal product has the a complex of self-correcting on-off, toggle effects. For example, our old friend the honey bee has a venom which contains both inflammatory agents and also, anti-inflammatory agents.  Pretty complex stuff.  Big Pharma tries to select the “active” ingredient and that often succeeds but not always. Take the willow bark which Native Americans chewed for headaches and pain; it worked well so Bayer analyzed the willow bark and discovered salicylic acid (aspirin) which was a huge financial success.  People were more comfortable popping a pill than chewing a twig.  But they were mistaken!  Aspirin, the “active ingredient” has a lethal effect which the whole source plant (willow bark) doesn’t: Bleeding ulcers.   Many people died from taking their patent medicine.  Recent medical historians like Dr. Starko suggest that many of the deaths were not from the flu, but rather iatrogenic – caused by the doctor who recommended aspirin.     

“….aspirin contributed to the incidence and severity of viral pathology, bacterial infection, and death, because physicians of the day were unaware that the regimens (8.0-31.2 g per day) produce levels associated with hyperventilation and pulmonary edema in 33% and 3% of recipients, respectively…”

“…Aspirin Regimens (Dose and Schedule) Recommended in 1918 Are Now Known to Regularly Produce Toxicity…”

“…In February 1919…Edward’s fever kept getting higher and higher…aspirin…was given to him by the 1/2-handful over and over…Edward sweated through his mattress…Dr.…could not save his patient…”

 

Now we learn that neuro-toxic venom from the deadly Black Mamba snake  offers a pain killer more effective and less immunosuppressive that morphine. And it is not reported to be addictive…

 NO…. I am NOT suggesting getting your venom straight from the source, being bitten by the black mambo snake – although that WOULD assure no further pain (or life!).  Better in this case to use a safe extract.  The reason this article attracted my attention was 

1) Doctor Lingueglia being surprised that a venom would have complex and seemingly antagonistic properties; as a student of bee venom, I know that to be the most intriguing aspect of venoms;

2) we dearly need a better class of pain killers – especially for our cancer patients. Anyone taking opiates for cancer pain should have been told by her or his oncologist that opiate SUPPRESS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM…. meaning you feel less pain BUT you have told your immune system to give up the fight.  Clarify the real risks and benefits of opiates with your doctor.

 

 

Nature. 2012

Oct 25;490(7421):552-5. doi: 10.1038/nature11494. Epub 2012 Oct 3.

Black mamba venom peptides target acid-sensing ion channels to abolish pain.

Diochot S, Baron A, Salinas M, Douguet D, Scarzello S, Dabert-Gay AS, Debayle D, Friend V, Alloui A, Lazdunski M, Lingueglia E.

Source

CNRS, Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, UMR 7275, 06560 Valbonne, France.

Abstract

Polypeptide toxins have played a central part in understanding physiological and physiopathological functions of ion channels. In the field of pain, they led to important advances in basic research and even to clinical applications. Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are generally considered principal players in the pain pathway, including in humans. A snake toxin activating peripheral ASICs in nociceptive neurons has been recently shown to evoke pain. Here we show that a new class of three-finger peptides from another snake, the black mamba, is able to abolish pain through inhibition of ASICs expressed either in central or peripheral neurons. These peptides, which we call mambalgins, are not toxic in mice but show a potent analgesic effect upon central and peripheral injection that can be as strong as morphine. This effect is, however, resistant to naloxone, and mambalgins cause much less tolerance than morphine and no respiratory distress. Pharmacological inhibition by mambalgins combined with the use of knockdown and knockout animals indicates that blockade of heteromeric channels made of ASIC1a and ASIC2a subunits in central neurons and of ASIC1b-containing channels in nociceptors is involved in the analgesic effect of mambalgins. These findings identify new potential therapeutic targets for pain and introduce natural peptides that block them to produce a potent analgesia.

 

FROM THE POPULAR PRESS

French scientists say that a painkiller as powerful as morphine, but without most of the side-effects, has been found in the deadly venom of the black mamba. The predator, which uses neurotoxins to paralyze and kill small animals, is one of the fastest and most dangerous snakes in Africa.

However, tests on mice, reported in the journal Nature, showed its venom also contained a potent painkiller. They admit to being completely baffled about why the mamba would produce it. The researchers looked at venom from 50 species before they found the black mamba’s pain-killing proteins – called mambalgins. Dr. Eric Lingueglia, from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology near Nice, said: “When it was tested in mice, the analgesia was as strong as morphine, but you don’t have most of the side-effects.”

Morphine acts on the opioid pathway in the brain. It can cut pain, but it is also addictive and causes headaches, difficulty thinking, vomiting and muscle twitching. The researchers say mambalgins tackle pain through a completely different route, which should produce few side-effects.

He said the way pain worked was very similar in mice and people, so he hoped to develop painkillers that could be used in the clinic. Tests on human cells in the laboratory have also showed the mambalgins have similar chemical effects in people.

But he added: “It is the very first stage, of course, and it is difficult to tell if it will be a painkiller in humans or not. A lot more work still needs to be done in animals.”

Dr. Eric Lingueglia said it was “really surprising” that black mamba venom would contain such a powerful painkiller.

SOURCE  http://www.bellenews.com/2012/10/04/health/black-mamba-venom-painkiller-beats-morphine/#ixzz2CFZajEMe

 

NO…. I am NOT suggesting getting your venom straight from the source, being bitten by the black mambo snake – although that WOULD assure no further pain (or life!).  Better in this case to use a safe extract.  The reason this article attracted my attention was

1) the doctor being surprised that a venom would have complex and seemingly antagonistic properties –  as a student of bee venom, I know that to be the most therapeutic aspect of venoms

2) we dearly need a better class of pain killers – especially for our cancer patients. Anyone taking opiates for cancer pain should have been told by her or his oncologist that opiate SUPPRESS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM…. meaning you feel less pain BUT you have told your immune system to give up the fight.  Clarify the real risks and benefits of opiates with your doctor.

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Dr. Weeks’ Comment: In nature, the whole plant or animal product has the a complex of self-correcting on-off, toggle effects. For example, our old friend the honey bee has a venom which contains both inflammatory agents and also, anti-inflammatory agents.  Pretty complex stuff.  Big Pharma tries to select the “active” ingredient and that often succeeds…
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