C&EN Senior Editor Bethany Halford notes that a sea snails' saliva contains chemicals that help the slow-moving creatures catch prey. They include chemicals that the snails inject into passing prey with hypodermic-needle-like teeth that shoot from their mouths like harpoons. Scientists already have transformed one of these chemicals into a pain-reliever for humans, but it has to be injected directly into the spinal cord, limiting its use.
Now scientists in Australia have developed a form of the painkiller that can be given by mouth. It relieves severe pain, such as that in people with peripheral neuropathy, at a much lower dose than existing medications and without the risk of causing addiction. The article quotes one expert as speculating that such a drug could revolutionize the treatment of the most severe forms of pain.
ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE "Pain Relief From Snail Spit"
This story is available at http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/88/8830sci2.html
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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