Lizard venom may provide drugs to fight hypertensionDecember 7th, 2010 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, Dec 7 (IANS) Lizards could be the source of novel venoms that may be used to treat high blood pressure.
Bryan Fry of the University of Melbourne who led researchers from Switzerland, Israel and US said: “The results obtained…emphasise the largely untapped drug design and development potential of lizard venoms.”
He will now focus on transforming the valuable lizard venom into a a drug that could ultimately help sufferers of heart disease, the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Proteomics reports.
“We only recently discovered that venom in lizards was not restricted to the gila monster and beaded lizard, but it is in fact much more widespread - so we set out to examine this unique group, and sure enough we discovered completely novel toxins,” Fry said, according to a university statement.
“We showed a great diversity of toxins in anguimorph venoms. The drug design potential of these novel venoms is highlighted by the fact that three of these new toxins act to lower blood pressure.”
The huge-scale study took four years to complete and involved collecting venom from lizards all over the world, followed by complex lab studies to analyse the properties of the venom.
“It was a huge undertaking but the result is well worth the effort - we have discovered completely novel venoms, as well as shed light on the evolution of venom systems in animals,” Fry said.
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Tags: complex lab, diversity, drugs, evolution, fry, gila monster, heart disease, high blood pressure, hypertension, israel, lizard, lizards, lower blood pressure, novel, sydney, toxins, undertaking, university of melbourne, venom, venoms