Seattle’s biotech firm Kineta has turned to an unusual source in developing lower-risk medicinal treatments – dangerous sea creatures.
Innovation often emerges from unexpected sources.
A Seattle biotech firm, has turned to an unusual source in developing lower-risk medicinal treatments – dangerous sea creatures.
Scientists there have been exploring the possibility of treating maladies with sea anemone and cone snail toxins.
Clinical trials are underway for medications powered by a synthesized version of anemone poison. The targeted medical issues are autoimmune diseases including lupus, multiple sclerosis, and psoriatic arthritis.
Unlike current treatments, which as a side effect suppress the immune system, the sea anemone derivative only blocks the protein that causes inflammation. The immune system is left fully functioning.
The trials also unexpectedly revealed that the toxin speeds up the metabolism, making the developers hopeful that it could also be used to remedy obesity.
The cone snail has proven equally promising in the pain management department.
Elements of its venom have the ability to block pain receptors without altering the brain itself.
Thus, unlike conventional high-end pain medications, it’s not addictive. Also, there’s no building of tolerance, alleviating the risk of accidental overdose.
That’s pretty amazing for two creatures that, if encountered in their natural habitat, could kill you instantly.