An Irish company is using four American diamondback rattlesnakes in a new clinical trial that will test snake venom as a treatment for cancer. The snakes, which hail from the Albuquerque BioPark, will be allowed to bite something and have their venom extracted humanely. The venom contains proteins that will be extracted and refined to target and kill cancer cells.
Snake venom has long shown promise as a treatment for cancer, in a wide range of animal trials dating back several years. Celtic Biotech isolated a protein in a type of rattlesnake venom that causes malignant cancer cells to commit cell suicide.
Photo by Charles & Clint.