The joint Australian-Chinese study, published today in the journal PNAS, found that a small protein in the Chinese red-headed centipede proved as potent as morphine to relieve pain in mice-based experiments.
The protein, called a peptide, alters the function of the nerve channels, selectively targeting the Nav1.7 pain channel. And because it has a different target to morphine, it could be used to treat all types of chronic pain.
“Venomous arthropod predators, like centipedes, scorpions, and spiders, worked out a couple of hundred million years ago that the best way to kill an insect is to target their nervous system,” explained study co-author Glenn King, from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience. “So that’s why decided to study centipede venom.”
Read more at: MedicalXpress