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article imageTick saliva could hold cancer cure

By Andrew Moran     Aug 30, 2009 in Health
They may be one of the most hated insects in mother nature but they could also hold the cure for cancer, according to Brazilian scientists.
Brazilian researchers have discovered that ticks could cure many forms of cancer such as: skin, liver and pancreas, according to AFP. Ana Marisa Chudzinski-Tavassi, the molecular biologist at the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo who is leading the research, said, 'This is a medical innovation. The component of the saliva of this tick... could be the cure for cancer.'
Chudzinski-Tavassi said that she found the properties of the protein, Factor X, active while she was testing anti-coagulant properties in the saliva of the tick. The blood stops clotting and thickening so the tick can gorge itself. She elaborated, 'To our surprise it didn't kill normal cells, which were also tested. But it did kill the tumorous cells that were being analyzed.'
Very small amounts of tick saliva was recaptured many times over in yeast vats so it could be tested in rats. The results were promising, 'If I treat every day for 14 days an animal's tumor, a small tumor, this tumor doesn't develop -- it even regresses. The tumor mass shrinks. If I treat for 42 days, you totally eliminate the tumor.'
Creating medicine from this will be a slow and long process and a lot of financial investments. The scientist applied for a patent on the tick protein however, she states that proving the tick protein will be difficult, 'To discover this is one thing. To turn it into a medicine is a whole other thing entirely.'
In 2007, researchers at the University of Alberta found an existing small molecule drug that could hold the key for a cure however, the drug's, dichloroacetate, patent ran out and companies are not going to invest hundreds of millions of dollar on human trials.
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