SEATTLE, Wash. (WGEM)— 54 million Americans suffer with arthritis.
It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Treatments used to control arthritis may have side effects that are worse than the condition itself.
Now, a potential new treatment using scorpions can give millions of arthritis sufferers much need relief.
Swelling, stiffness, and pain. Arthritis is tough on your joints, but the treatment used to control it could be even tougher.
“Currently in a lot of arthritis diseases, patients are given steroids. But they have to be given very sparingly because of the strong toxic side effects they can have,” explained Natalie Nairn, PhD, Vice President of CDP Therapeutics at Blaze Bioscience.
The effects can include hypertension, glaucoma, osteoporosis, and even immune suppression which can leave patients vulnerable to infections.
When a patient takes a dose of steroids either orally or by injection …
“It hits both the joint that you want, but everything else along the way,” illustrated Dennis Miller, PhD, Executive Vice President of Development at Blaze Bioscience.
But now, researchers have found a protein in scorpion venom that can deliver drugs directly to cartilage in the affected joint.
“This can be an excellent way to deliver drugs to inflamed joints of arthritis and get them concentrated where they need to be and help them avoid other tissues we don’t need them to be in,” elaborated Nairn.
The researchers tried this method on an animal model …
“In our top doses, all the animals were showing much less inflammation in their joints,” Miller described.
With fewer side effects. This isn’t the first time the team used scorpion venom for medical purposes.
Researchers found that another protein found in scorpion venom can bind to cancer cells, helping doctors to spot them more easily during surgery. But for arthritis …
“What this could actually provide patients with is a good long-term solution to produce anti-inflammatory effects,” Miller concluded.
The researchers say they hope to have this in the clinic setting within the next two years.
They are also looking at scorpions for other types of cancers and GI disorders.