Read an intriguing article related to my field of study, that can be accessed at: http://www.businessinsider.com/brazilian-wasp-venom-kills-cancer-cells-2015-9
It talks about the Brazilian wasp, Polybia Paulista, harbouring venom that assaults cancerous cells. The best part: it leaves normal cells alone. Doesn’t bother them. The toxin molecule from the wasp, called MP1 (Polybia-MP1), recognizes lipid molecule arrangements on the cell membrane of cancerous cells (which differ from those on healthy cells). This difference is responsible for the vulnerability of cancer cell membranes to MP1 toxin which digs holes in the membrane, causing essential proteins and molecules to leak out of the cell, rendering the cell non-functional and dead.
The unique mechanism of action of MP1 may brand this a significant research with great potential in the area of targeted therapy for cancer.
The novelty of this particular cancer treatment is realized in the following extract from the article:
“Cancer therapies that attack the lipid composition of the cell membrane would be an entirely new class of anticancer drugs,” said Paul Beales from the University of Leeds who was a coauthor of the study. “This could be useful in developing new combination therapies, where multiple drugs are used simultaneously to treat a cancer by attacking different parts of the cancer cells at the same time.”
This research is another step towards combatting cancerous cells whilst unaffecting healthy tissue. Moreover, it is fascinating to discover that the path to targeted therapy for cancer is illuminated and facilitated by nature itself.