A mutant scorpion toxin that inhibits the spread of three types of cancer (breast, skin and prostate) It is developed by experts from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the institution indicated this Friday.
In a statement, the UNAM reported that the double mutant of the powerful toxin of the red scorpion from India, called tamapina, which contains its venom, is capable of inhibiting metastasis.
According to the results obtained by scientists from the UNAM’s Institute of Chemistry (IQ), due to its relevance, this mutant is in the patent process.
“By modifying tamapine, the movement of malignant cells is ‘blocked’ by 60 to 70% using a small concentration of Mesobuthus tamulus toxin, specifically for certain types of cancer: breast, skin and prostate,” said the IQ researcher Federico del Río and his doctoral student Marlen Mayorga.
The academic explained that the first step for malignant cells to become metastatic is that start migrating.
“Initially they develop into a small organ or tumor that later grows; as time passes they can begin to move to other parts of the body. This phase is responsible for the death of people with cancer”, He pointed.
He explained that cells have “pores” called ion channels, through which they “feed.” In this way, for example, salts such as sodium, potassium or calcium ions, sugar and other nutrients enter.
He reported that at the University of Tours, France, project collaborators found that some of those pores, called SK channels “are important because if they are inhibited the migration of cancer cells and the tamapine mutant is preventedBesides being powerful, it fulfills that specific function ”.
Researchers at the Institute of Chemistry found a couple more of these mutants with the same effect, but not as effective as the double mutant.
Del Río noted that SK3 ion channels are associated with certain types of cancer. “We know that they are generated in breast, skin and prostate cancer. That is, this toxin it would be useful when cancer cells have those channels, which are the target of the tamapina mutant ”.
While Mayorga did experiments to determine if toxins, in addition to blocking those channels were able to attack malignant cells.
“We did not see a cytotoxic effect, but we did see a clear inhibition of the migration of cell lines that are highly metastatic”, He said.
They indicated that the next phase of the research is, as in any other drug, to carry out the stages preclinical and clinical to verify its correct operation.
“We are at the point of improving it and beginning tests in animal models in collaboration with Mexican researchers,” they commented.
The encouraging results of this research were published in an American Chemical Society journal, Medicinal Chemistry Letters, last July.
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