Can venom cure cancer?

Can venom cure cancer?


Bee venom for cancer?

It is worth studying the use of bee venom to fight cancer as it could be

a protein that stops the vital activity of cancer cells.

However bee stings can kill people due to anaphylactic shock.   Unless you had a bee sting before, you would never know if you were allergic, in which case it could be fatal.  Also, bee venom is a very potent pain receptor activator, so a cancer patient receiving it in the hope of fighting the cancer might not only die, but could die an agonizingly painful death. There are good reasons why the medical profession isn’t currently using bee venom to fight cancer.

Lately,  BVT (Bee Venom Therapy) has been used to treat patients with chronic untreatable Lyme Disease with remarkable initial results coming out.

“Melittin is a small (~2500 dalton) host defense peptide in bee venom that stimulates various aspects of immunity.”

Melittin can open the thermal channels of TRPV1 nociceptors through cyclooxygenase metabolites resulting in depolarization of nociceptor cells. The pore-forming effects on cells cause the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. It also activates G protein-coupled receptor-mediated opening of transient receptor potential channels. Finally, melittin upregulates the expression of Nav1.8 and Nav1.9 sodium channels in the nociceptor cell, leading to a long-term action potential and pain sensation.

But before we get too excited. Let’s remember a few basic things. Bee venom is a toxin, so of course it kills cancer cells. 

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“But it is too powerful to kill the cancer cells. It may result in serious side effects as well…it may become packed in a nanoparticle to direct to the tumor tissue only. The side effect is usually a hemolytic problem: it damages blood cells. Damage to them may be fatal,” according to Professor Ukukaya, head of Molecular Cancer Research Institute at Istinye University.

We use toxins all the time to kill cancer cells. 

The chemotherapeutic Taxol, for instance, consists of alkaloids from the plant Taxus (yew) which became used as a poison by assassins. The problem is that bee venom is also toxic to normal cells. You would have to selectively target the cancer cell, and that is the trick, or else very precisely regulate the doses. That is the trickier part. 

“We tested some years ago a natural product from a plant. It killed the cells of all kinds of tumor types perfectly. But this does not mean that it may be an anticancer drug. It may only be a poison. Poisons kill everything. There must be some selectivity towards cancer types. In the text you sent, I think they used normal counterparts of cancer cells. It may be ok that normal cells are not harmed. But erythrocytes may still become seriously damaged when you give the bee venom to animals (in vivo). So, in vitro results are usually not translated to clinics. They are just in vitro and produced in a simple test environment,” said Professor Ukukaya.

Of course the irony of some people seeking a potential cure for cancer from bee venom while other humans kill off the insect species with their use of carcinogenic chemicals is enormous.

In conclusion, humans are a peculiar species!

Can venom cure cancer?