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A pain treatment with bite

Thursday, 1 March 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

start-up-idea-spiderSpider venom could soon be used to relieve chronic pain conditions.


Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) researchers have partnered with Johnson & Johnson to develop components of spider venom that may be effective as a treatment for pain.


Funding will support a 12-month project to characterise novel spider venom peptides that were discovered in a proprietary IMB testing procedure to inhibit a human ion channel (ion channels regulate ion flows across cell membranes), critical for sensing pain.


The long-term goal is to develop these peptides for the therapeutic treatment of chronic pain.


UniQuest managing director David Henderson says the partnership will accelerate the process of seeking a solution to chronic pain, a health problem estimated to affect 1.5 billion people.


“Discoveries like this pass through many developmental stages before they become market-ready therapeutic products,” Henderson says.


The use of spider venom as a potential treatment for pain could represent a major opportunity for the right entrepreneur, so why not do some research of your own?