Cancer Therapy: Does Tick Saliva Help Against Cancer?

Cancer Therapy: Does Tick Saliva Help Against Cancer?

The spit of ticks could kill cancer cells

Brazilian researchers have identified a molecule in the tick's spit that kills cancer cells. According to the scientists, the saliva can really boost cancer therapy. After the first tests on animals, the first trials in humans should start in the near future. However, some research work is still pending in advance. In addition, a permit must also be obtained.

Very valuable spit Brazilian researchers at the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo have discovered a molecule in ticks' saliva that kills malignant cells. According to scientists led by project coordinator Ana Marisa Chudzinski-Tavassi, the arachnid spit could be extremely valuable in the fight against cancer. The research team made the discovery rather accidental. The anticoagulant effect of tick saliva should actually be tested. After experimenting with cancer cells, the scientists quickly found that a certain molecule also kills malignant cells.

Promising tests on animals The first tests on rats and mice were promising years ago. For example, “” quoted the molecular biologist Chudzinski-Tavassi in 2010 as follows: “In theory, unlike previous treatment options, the protein can be used for targeted cancer treatment.” The team of researchers at the time found that this was the case with two weeks of therapy for cancer-sick rats Small tumor growth stopped and the ulcer became even smaller. It was said that a tumor in rats disappears completely after six weeks of therapy.

Different types of cancer successfully treated In a current video by the Reuters news agency, the work of the researchers is now shown. Ms. Chudzinski-Tavassi explains: “Chemotherapy normally attacks the tumor cells more than normal cells. But normal cells are also damaged. And here we saw after 42 days of treatment that normal cells are not attacked. So the effects are far less. ”With ticks saliva, animals with skin, kidney and pancreatic cancer and metastases in the lungs have already been successfully treated.

Hope for experiments on humans The researchers are now hoping that the Brazilian national health authority will soon allow experiments on humans. In recent years, the necessary funds for long-term tests and large investments have been lacking. If the saliva of the Amblyomma cayennense tick species could one day be used for the manufacture of medicines, the reputation of the blood suckers, which are considered to be bothersome, could also change. So far, the arachnids are mostly seen only as carriers of the diseases Lyme disease and early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). (ad)

Image: Tim Reckmann /

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