Snake venom used by AIMMS researchers as basis for new medicines

Jeroen Kool (AIMMS) and colleagues were interviewed for the magazine C2W about the possible use of venoms as medicine.

12/04/2018 | 4:12 PM

Venomous snake bites cause huge mortality rates (estimated 125,000 cases yearly) and even more cases of morbidity (estimated 450,000 cases yearly) world-wide, but snake venoms also comprise huge potential as a basis for medicine. Finding new bioactive peptides and proteins from venoms continues at a rapid pace.

What are the latest developments?
Animal venoms are currently the basis of a handful of medicines. Snake venom is by far the most researched venom, although venoms of other species including spiders, cone snails and scorpions also have interest in pharma research and beyond. Thanks to high-throughput screening, the testing of venom toxins from snake venoms continues at a rapid pace. Nowadays, libraries with purified toxins are available to look for 'hits'. Cardiovascular diseases, chronic pain and cancer are focus areas for venom-based drug discovery.

Interview in C2W
Recently, Jeroen Kool (AIMMS, VU Amsterdam), Jan Tytgat (LU, Belgium) and Pieter Reitsma (VarmX, Netherlands) were interviewed by Pauline van Schayck for C2W. The interview was published this month, where the potential, bottlenecks and opportunities of venoms for drug discovery are highlighted. The article can be found here (in Dutch and only for subscribers).