Title : Snake and scorpion venom as a source for drugs to treat cancer and central nervous system diseases
Toxic substances and secretions of animals such as snakes, spiders and scorpions have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of several diseases. Despite of the inherent difficulty and high economic risk in the discovery and development of new drugs from natural products, the development and rapid advancement of new technologies such as mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis has allowed researchers to advance in a more focused characterization for the determination of key molecular targets in several diseases. In order to characterize and find potential key molecular species in cancer or disease linked to central nervous system (CNS) that may be targets in snake venom therapeutics, we have tested the Bothrops jararaca snake venom and Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom on several cancer cell lines and Crotalus durissus terrificus rattle snake venom on mice cerebellum and screened for proteome differences with and without the venom treatment. We have observed several up- and down-regulated proteins that play important roles related to cancer, such as cell proliferation, invasion, metastasis, apoptosis and stress response and proteins related to synapses inhibition and oxidative stress that are key processes in some CNS-related diseases. These data show that venom or some of their components may have potential usage for cancer or CNS-related disease therapy.