A new study suggests that spider bite releases chemicals that could be potent in putting off chronic pain. There is a particular chemical in the spider venom that works to block pain pathway in humans and also has a suitable structure that allows harnessing for medication. Breakthrough in developing painkiller from spider venom could help bypass the side effects and failure of the commonly used painkiller drugs.
Although a spider bite may cause serious pain to the body, the chemical released in the bite could be helpful in reducing pain in human body. There is even a possibility that a new class of painkiller drugs could be developed from the venom.
The work of University of Queensland researchers
According to the University of Queensland researchers, there are many chemical compounds released into the body following a spider bite. Out of the many chemicals there are seven that have been found to help with the blocking of a key pain pathway to the brain. The scientists said the ability of spider venom to block the so-called Nav1.7 channels could give way to better painkillers without side effects. The researchers published their discovery of spider venom for pain management in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
Blocking pain channels
In the case of spider venom, Glenn King of University of Queensland, who led the research, said that they are very much interested in the chemical in the venom that helps to block Nav1.7 channels. He noted that past studies have shown that people without Nav1.7 channels have indifference to pain.
Natural mutation in humans can lead to blocking of Nav1.7 channels thereby turning off pain.
The researchers studies venom from some 206 different species of spider and discovered that 40% of the samples contained chemicals that could block pain pathways. One of the compounds in the venom was found to be particularly potent for medication because of its favorable chemical structure.
Chronic pain is a problem that affects One in five people in the world suffers from chronic pain. Currently, opioid-based drugs are used to deal with chronic pain, but they bear side effects besides being prone to abuse.