Repairing hearts with deadly spider venom
A potentially life-saving treatment for heart attack victims has been discovered from a very unlikely source – the venom of one of the world’s deadliest spiders.
A drug candidate developed from a molecule found in the venom of the Fraser Island (K’gari) funnel web spider can prevent damage caused by a heart attack and extend the life of donor hearts used for organ transplants.
The discovery was made by a team led by Dr Nathan Palpant and Professor Glenn King from The University of Queensland (UQ) and Professor Peter Macdonald from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
Dr Palpant, from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), said the drug candidate worked by stopping a ‘death signal’ sent from the heart in the wake of an attack.
This research was published in Circulation and funded by The University of Queensland, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the National Heart Foundation of Australia. The lead authors are Dr Meredith Redd (Institute for Molecular Bioscience, UQ) and Dr Sarah Scheuer (Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute).
Release date: 16 July 2021
Source: University of Queensland