Funnel web spider venom may hold key to preventing heart attack and stroke damage

The venom of a funnel-web spider found only on K’gari or Fraser Island in Queensland may hold the key to preventing irreparable damage caused by heart attacks and strokes, new research has shown.

The University of Queensland research, using the venom of the world’s deadliest spider, has the potential to save countless lives by preventing organ damage after heart attack and stroke, caused by blockages that block blood flow to the heart and heart. hinder the brain.

The drug, developed using a unique molecule found only on Fraser Island’s funnel web spiders, could save millions of lives. (Nine)

The drug uses a molecule found only in the K’gari funnel web spider, and when given immediately to people having a heart attack, it has been found to prevent the damage to heart cells, muscles and brain cells that can lead to heart failure and death. lead.

The study has been tested on mice and rats, and trials in humans will begin next year.

“We haven’t seen it anywhere else and we have spiders from all over the world,” said Professor Glenn King of the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

“It’s really an Australian drug molecule.”

Funnel web spider venom may hold key to preventing heart attack and stroke damage
King said the drug will be particularly helpful in providing timely treatment for stroke and heart damage in regional patients. (Nine)

Mice given the drug within hours of a stroke were found to have significantly better results.

“After two and four hours, we can reduce brain damage by 80 percent, and even after eight hours, we can reduce it by 65 percent,” King said.

It is hoped that paramedics will be able to use the drug in stroke and heart attack patients as soon as possible after a heart or stroke event.

Funnel web spider venom may hold key to preventing heart attack and stroke damage
The study found that the drug, when administered to mice, reduced brain damage after a stroke by 80 percent. (Nine)

King said stroke patients typically “lose about two million brain cells per minute.”

“For example, if you’re in a regional area of ​​Queensland,[treatments]will save a lot of your brain,” he said.

Nathan Palpant of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience said the drug could be a game-changer, potentially saving millions of lives.

Funnel web spider venom may hold key to preventing heart attack and stroke damage
The molecule is one of 4,000 found only on Fraser Island’s funnel web. (Nine)

“What we find is that the cells… are able to survive, they keep beating really well,” he said.

“Get to these patients ASAP — where this drug can prevent that organ-wide damage.”

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