Spider venom may help save stroke victims: researchers say

Spider venom may help save stroke victims: researchers say

Venom of potentially deadly funnel-web spiders may be used to save the lives of stroke patients as a protein in the venom have been found effective in minimizing the effects of brain damage after a stroke, according to Australian researchers.

A team of researchers from the Monash University and University of Queensland administered an electric charge to three funnel-web spiders’ fangs, making the deadly creatures to squeeze out venom.

They analyzed the venom and found a small protein dubbed Hi1a, which blocks acid-sensing ion channels in the brain, which are key drivers of brain damage after stroke. They conducted the study on rats.

Sharing their findings, they said, “We believe that we have, for the first time, found a way to minimise the effects of brain damage after a stroke. One of the most exciting things about Hi1a is that it provides exceptional levels of protection for eight hours after stroke onset…”

Lead researcher Glenn King expressed hope that human trials of the protein would likely be possible within a couple of years.

Strokes claim as many as six million lives globally each year, and five million survivors are left with some sort of permanent disability. The newly-discovered protein in funnel-web spiders’ venom may help save many of those lives in the future.


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