Navigation Links
Molecular miners find pain relief drugs from the sea

Melbourne based company Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Limited recently announced successful results in preclinical trials of the toxin. The company will begin clinical trials in humans this month to firstly test the safety of the toxin in normal males, and later its effectiveness in treating the neuropathic pain associated with diabetes.

From the University of Melbourne's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the recently launched Bio21 Institute, Associate Professor Bruce Livett says the toxin ?called ACV1 ?also has potential for treating a range of other painful conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, shingles and sciatica.

"ACV1 has been shown to be effective in treating pain in several experimental animal models of human pain syndromes, including post-surgical and neuropathic pain," Associate Professor Livett says.

"In addition, it has the unique property that it appears to accelerate the rate of recovery from a nerve injury."

"We are very excited that clinical trials to test the effectiveness of ACV1 in humans with diabetic neuropathies will soon be underway and we expect that the potential of ACV1 in treating a range of other painful conditions will also be realised in time."

ACV1 has shown potential for treating neuropathic pain, that is, pain generated inside the body (arising in the nervous system) as opposed to the other type of pain ?nociceptive pain ?which comes from the outside in, for example, a burn.

Associate Professor Livett says neuropathic pain is the most difficult form to treat and typically responds poorly to conventional painkillers such as morphine or aspirin. Other treatments have also been found to be largely ineffective.

The great potential of ACV1 is that eliminating neuropathic pain is where it works best.

BACKGROUND

Associate Professor Livett and his colleagues first discovered ACV1 in 2003 while studying the toxins produced in the venom of Conus victoriae , a marine cone snail found in tropical waters off the coast of Australia.

All cone snails produce venom which they use to paralyse prey before killing and eating them. The venom of some cone snails is toxic to humans ?as many as 30 people are known to have died from cone snail envenomation.

The cone snails that are dangerous to humans feed on fish by impaling them with a harpoon styled barb (a modified tooth called a radula) loaded with toxic venom.

Associate Professor Livett says there are up to 200 components in each venom and there are over 500 species of cone snail, each with a different cocktail of venom peptides. Fortunately, most cone snails hunt marine worms or other molluscs and are not harmful to humans.

It may seem unusual that toxic venoms can also be a source of pain relieving medication for humans.

Associate Professor Livett explains, "It appears that cone snails have adopted the general strategy of including a pain-reducing component among the more lethal components of its venom."

"That is, it first pacifies its victim before immobilising and eventually killing it. Witnesses to cone snail envenomation report that death by cone snail poisoning is seemingly painless."

It is this special pain-reducing component that the researchers have been interested in.

The Melbourne team, which includes Associate Professors Bruce Livett and Ken Gayler and Dr John Down from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Associate Professor Zeinab Khalil from the University's National Ageing Research Institute, and research students Mr David Sandall, Mr David Keays and Ms Narmatha Satkunanathan, were the first to isolate and characterise ACV1.

It was a true collaborative venture starting with genes discovered by Associate Professor Gayler, Mr Sandall and Mr Keays, capitalizing on the pharmacological and chemical expertise of Associate Professor Livett and Dr Down, marrying with the physiolo gical and pain assessment expertise of Associate Professor Khalil.

ACV1 is not the only therapeutic compound that cone snail venom has to offer. In fact, the venom is a cocktail of thousands of biologically active compounds of which only a few hundred have been identified.

Associate Professor Gayler says the team, by using genes as the starting point, are able to minimize the number of cone snails required to develop new tools and therapies for medical research and therefore minimise the environmental impact of the research. "With a single cone snail we can create and store large libraries of conotoxin genes."

It was using this genetic mining technique that ACV1 was discovered ?its peptide sequence was predicted solely from the DNA sequence. The peptide was then chemically synthesised in large quantities suitable for biological testing. This same approach is now being used by Metabolic Pharmaceuticals to synthesise gram amounts of ACV1 needed for the planned human clinical trials for diabetic neuropathy.

"With an increasing age demographic in our society the need for more effective pain suppressing compounds is a priority. ACV1 may fill this unmet need," Associate Professor Livett says.


'"/>

Source:University of Melbourne


Related biology news :

1. Molecular biology fills gaps in knowledge of bat evolution
2. Molecular machine may lead to new drugs to combat human diseases
3. Molecular Motors Cooperate In Moving Cellular Cargo, Study Shows
4. Molecular models advance the fight against malaria
5. Molecular fossils uncover link between viruses and the immune system
6. Molecular thermometers on skin cells detect heat and camphor
7. Molecular messengers perform a crucial role in the ability of injured nerve cells to heal themselves
8. Molecular steps involved in the creation of gene-silencing microRNAs identified
9. Molecular mechanism of feather formation found
10. Molecular trigger for Huntingtons disease found
11. Molecular Partners Required For Appropriate Neuronal Gene Repression
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/9/2016)... Nigeria . Recently, ... 23,000 public service employees either did not exist with ... unlawfully.    --> Nigeria . ... than 23,000 public service employees either did not exist ... salary unlawfully.    --> DERMALOG, the biometrics ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... Calif. , March 3, 2016  FlexTech, a ... the categories of Innovation, Research & Development, Leadership in ... Leadership. This is the 9 th year of ... group of companies and individuals from past years ... based on a pre-described set of criteria, by a ...
(Date:3/2/2016)... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/wzwqtz/global_biometrics ... "Global Biometrics Market in Hospitality Sector 2016-2020" ... , , Global biometrics market in the ... of around 27%   --> ... addition of the  "Global Biometrics Market in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/6/2016)... York , May 6, 2016 ... Research " Molecular Diagnostic Market for Group A Streptococcus (GAS) ... Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2023 ", ... group A streptococcus (GAS) nucleic acid (NA) test products market ... projected to expand at a CAGR of 11.6% from 2015 ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 ... ... Patent and Trademark Office has granted two additional patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 9,322,133 ... These patents cover processes for making nanocellulose as well as hydrophobic nanocellulose compositions. ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Proove Biosciences, Inc. , the ... partnership with McGill University . The partnership is designed to advance research in ... to help patients in pain. With the new agreement, researchers at Proove Biosciences are ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Nutrafol®, a first-to-market smart-supplement ... hormonal and stress related hair loss. With patent-pending formulas for both female hair ... leaders in the medical and salon channels nationwide. , Dermatologists, Plastic Surgeons ...
Breaking Biology Technology: