Honey Bee Venom Could Be Used To Treat Breast Cancer: Study

Honey Bee Venom Could Be Used To Treat Breast Cancer: Study

Venom was drawn from 312 honey bees in Western Australia, Ireland and England for a study conducted by Dr Ciara Duffy of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and the University of Western Australia, as part of her PhD programme.

The results of the study, published last month in NPJ (Nature Partner Journals) Precision Oncology, offers a mode of treatment for clinical sub-types of breast cancer, including triple-negative breast cancer that has restricted treatment options.

Bee venom was found to rapidly destroy triple-negative breast cancer cells. Speaking with website Science Daily, which publishes the reports of scientific findings and offers lay readers an insight into freshly published scientific research, Dr Duffy said, “The venom was extremely potent.”

What was remarkable was that 100% cell death was noted in the cancer cells, while normal cells were left almost intact. A component compound, Melittin, was found to destroy cancer cell membrane in one hour.

The substance worked by affecting the cancer signaling pathways, the chemical messages fundamental to cancer cell reproduction. There are over 20,000 species of bees.

Honeybee venom differs from substances produced by bumblebees – the venom from bumblebees did not affect cancer cells, even at very high concentrations.

-- Rosamma Thomas

(The writer is a freelance journalist based in Pune)

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