NewsAn Australian octopus could hold the key to cancer...

An Australian octopus could hold the key to cancer treatment

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An Australian octopus may hold the answer to the fight against one of the worst forms of cancer, researchers have discovered. An international study has found evidence that a compound in the venom of the kaurna octopus, also known as the southern sand octopus, could significantly slow the progression of cancer.

The researchers also found that the venom could help fight drug resistance in patients with the BRAF gene mutation, a problem found in about half of melanoma cases.

Led by researcher Maria Ikonomopoulou, the scientists tested the antitumor properties of a range of synthetically reproduced venom compounds.

“We analyzed venom compounds derived from various marine animals, but the peptide from the southern Australian sand octopus specifically stood out for its ability to safely and effectively target melanoma cells with BRAF mutations in pre-clinical models,” he said. she explained, writes Agerpres.

It is hoped that these findings will provide a basis for targeted, less toxic cancer treatment. “It is still very early. However, these findings offer hope that this octopus peptide can be developed into a targeted cancer treatment that can be administered safely and effectively even in very high doses,” added the researcher.

Ikonomopoulou stated that many patients do not respond to existing treatments against BRAF-mutated melanoma. “While targeted therapies and immunotherapy have improved outcomes, current problems with toxicity and drug resistance generally thwart their success against cancer,” she explained.

“Although much more research is needed, our study shows that this compound from octopus venom has a strong therapeutic potential”, added the researcher.

The scientists also plan to find out if this compound has potential against other tumors with BRAF mutations, including prostate and colon, but also against non-small cell lung cancer.

The study was published in the October edition of the British Journal of Pharmacology. Ikonomopoulou previously discovered that a certain compound from the Australian funnel-web spider is very effective in fighting melanoma cells, but also in the case of cells taken from facial tumors affecting Tasmanian devil specimens. 

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