A taste for scorpion venom could be cancer's undoing

2019-03-01 05:04:10

RADIOACTIVE scorpion venom sounds like the ultimate doomsday weapon but it is now being tested as a treatment for malignant brain cancer. The scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus lives in the Middle East. Among the powerful cocktail of neurotoxins packed into its venom is a peptide that is non-toxic to humans and binds to a receptor found only on some tumour cells. In culture, the peptide has invaded tumours in breast, skin, brain and lung tissue, but left healthy cells untouched. “It’s as if the tumours collect it,” says Michael Egan of the company TransMolecular in Cambridge,