Honeybees are well sought after by humans, especially because of the sweet nectar that they produce. In many forested areas, people actually make a living by honey collection and bee rearing. These insects have proved to be an important part of the ecosystem for years.
Bees also help in increasing the green cover of the planet by assisting in pollination, and the medicinal benefits of honey are reiterated by almost every medical practitioner in the world.
But a recent study found that a type of venom secreted by honeybees can in fact cure breast cancer!
The study was conducted by the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Australia. Scientists have discovered that this venom acts as a toxin towards a range of tumours, including those generally found in melanoma, lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers.
This particular venom compound proved effective against two very hard-to-treat breast cancer types – ‘triple negative’ and ‘HER2-enriched’.
Melittin – The Medicinal Toxin
The research found that Melittin, a component found in the bee venom is in fact the reason the venom is effective against cancer. Melittin molecules cause a painful sensation in the body after a bee stings a person. Although, researchers are still puzzled regarding how this molecule kills cancer cells.
The study tested venom extracted from over 300 honeybees and bumblebees, and the honeybee extracts were found to be very impactful. The venom fights the cancer cells and kills them within an hour while also not harming other cells!
Although the research has not concluded yet since the appropriate dosage of the toxin is also to be understood.
Melittin naturally occurs in bees, but it can also be synthetically reproduced. If it is effective against fighting cancer, then the compound can be created without actually causing environmental damage.
Does Cancer Finally Have A Cure Now?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women across the world. While chemotherapy and radiotherapy are effective methods to fight cancer, the methods also cause significant damage to cells that are not cancerous.
The therapies are widely known for its several side effects and how it hinders the lifestyle of the patients.
The research conducted also saw that the honeybee venom in fact did not essentially affect the surrounding cells if used in a small amount. While cancer essentially does not have a proper cure yet, the discovery can definitely be considered exciting because cancer claims the lives of thousands every year.
The chief scientist of the study, Prof Peter Klinken described the research as “extremely exciting” and said, that it “provides another wonderful example of where compounds in nature can be used to treat human diseases.”
The scientists are now working towards increasing the capacity of the compound and looking forward to testing the vial in human cancer. In a previously conducted research, it was seen that several compounds could kill the cancer cells in a petri dish but were not as effective in real life.
Scientists are hoping that this natural compound will be way more effective in fighting breast cancer inside humans.
What are your thoughts on this exciting discovery? Let us know by commenting below.
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