Recounted in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study showed that the antivenom alleviated the symptoms of nerve poisoning in children following a scorpion sting in a very short time. It also reduced the need for sedative medication dramatically and lowered levels of scorpion venom in the bloodstream.
A second study, conducted primarily at the San Carlos Hospital on Arizona's San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, confirmed these findings and demonstrated that the treatment could safely be provided in a rural hospital, far from pediatric intensive care.
In 2004, the state of Arizona supplied additional research funds through the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission, enabling the UA to expand its study.
Institutio Bioclon and U.S. partner Rare Disease Therapeutics, Inc. of Tennessee agreed to provide the antivenom to qualifying hospitals, while preparing a formal license application to the U.S. FDA.
Dr. Andreas Theodorou, a UA professor of pediatrics, chief medical officer of University Medical Center and a member of the research team, said, "This antivenom basically takes symptoms away in a very short time. What was a life-threatening disease that would put kids in the pediatric ICU has become, for most of them, an outpatient disease."
This collaboration among academic and business partners is poised to have a global impact. The research has attracted attention from numerous countries with venomous creatures that pose problems for people. Among these is Morocco, where Bioclon, assisted by Boyer and Alagn, plans to begin clinical trials on a similar antivenom to treat stings inflicted by North Africa's deadly scorpions.
"This project owes
|Contact: Ann Cisneros|
University of Arizona Health Sciences Center