Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientific hunch poised to save thousands from toxic fish poisoning

22.10.2008
A neuroscientist at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute has found a way to combat a debilitating illness that affects an estimated 50,000 people a year in tropical regions.

Ciguatera poisoning – which often results in acute nausea, vomiting and painful gastrointestinal episodes – is caused by eating fish that have fed on a micro algae that are toxic to mammals and often associated with large algal blooms known as red tides.

Cases of ciguatera poisoning have been documented for more than 200 years – and were recorded and described by Captain Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific in 1774.

Recently, scientists have discovered that the patented compound brevenal could be used to make an effective treatment for neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP), a condition related to ciguatera poisoning.

Acting initially on a hunch, QBI neuroscientist Associate Professor Fred Meunier hypothesised that brevenal could be adapted to combat ciguatera poisoning.

Simultaneously, and unbeknown to Dr Meunier, Dr Dan Baden at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (USA) was also considering adapting brevenal to fight ciguatera.

The two scientists soon became aware of each other's interest and began discussing the possibility that the compound active against NSP could have the same therapeutic effect on ciguatera toxins.

Along with Dr Dan Baden, Dr Jordi Molgo (National Center For Scientific Research, France) and Dr Richard Lewis at UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Dr Meunier pressed on to obtain a small batch of both ciguatera toxin and brevenal to test their hypothesis.

"It now seems that we have found a way of blocking the effect of the ciguatera toxin on sodium channels without affecting their function of propagating the electrical signals in neurons," Dr Meunier said.

One of the main problems with ciguatera is that there are few, if any, effective treatments for the acute impact it has on the health of humans and marine mammals.

"There is one drug available for ciguatera sufferers but a randomised trial conducted by another research group in 2002 found it to be no better than a placebo," Dr Meunier said.

Armed with the knowledge of how the ciguatera toxin affects the body, Dr Meunier and his research collaborators are now looking to develop a drug that will short-circuit the ciguatera toxin's effect in mammals. The process of synthesising and safely delivering the drug for human patients will require extensive trials.

QBI Communications | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uq.edu.au

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>