Tel Aviv researcher Prof. Michael Gurevitz is looking on ways to use scorpion venom as an alternative to the pain killer morphine.
The novel pain killer out of peptide toxins found in scorpion venom interact with sodium channels in nervous and muscular systems — and some of these sodium channels communicate pain.
According to Prof. Gurevitz:
"The mammalian body has nine different sodium channels of which only a certain subtype delivers pain to our brain. We are trying to understand how toxins in the venom interact with sodium channels at the molecular level and particularly how some of the toxins differentiate among channel subtypes.
If we figure this out, we may be able to slightly modify such toxins, making them more potent and specific for certain pain mediating sodium channels."
If everything works well, pain killers from scorpion toxins would provide novel pain killers of high specificity that have no side effects.