Neuroscientists working with brain cancer patients in Washington have recently been astounded to find that a chemical produced by Israeli "death-stalker" scorpion venom (Leiurus quinquestriatus) can cross the blood barrier, identify cancer cells and attach its molecules to the damaged cells. The scientists are using the scorpion venom molecules to carry a bright dye into the brain, thus illuminating the cancer cells and allowing for a much more targeted form of surgery. The venom was said to be a 100 more sensitive than an MRI in identifying cancer cells.
Not only did the scorpion venom point to tumors in the brain but also those in the colon and breast.
On another front, a team of researchers at Israel's Tel Aviv University's Department of Plant Sciences, led by Professor Michael Gurevitz, Ph.D., is investigating ways in which scorpion venom may replace morphine (and other narcotic drugs) for pain relief.
Scorpion venom has been used for medicinal purposes before.
Ancient Chinese physicians were perhaps the first to experiment with scorpion venom, using it for pain relief and other applications. Scorpion venom contains neurotoxins, which directly affect the human nervous system. One of the first signs of venomous poisoning (from scorpions or snakes) is numbness or loss of physical sensation, particularly in the region of the body that was bitten.
During his interview regarding this amazing discovery of the scorpion venom's possibilities, neurosurgeon Dr. Jim Olsen, chief neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said that it was time for science to open itself to the possibility of other plants and animals having similarly powerful chemicals that could be useful for health purposes.
At Cloud Forest Botanicals, we could not agree more!