Cuban scientists have developed a drug from scorpion venom, which they say could go a long way in fighting cancer, Spanish news agency Prensa Latina reported today.
"The researchers have been studying the breeding, handling and use of scorpion venom in their Cienfuegos breeding centre, which has 400 scorpions at present but would increase to 5,000 next year," team leader Fabio Linares of the Pharmaceutical Biological Laboratories in Havana said Wednesday.
The drug can be used to treat brain tumours, pancreas and prostate cancer.
Linares said the idea of researching the possibility of scorpion venom as cure for cancer and other diseases gained in strength after it was realised that local doctors had been using it for centuries.
A container from the colonial era preserving scorpion venom in Havana's French Pharmacy indicates that it was used in country since the 18th Century, the scientist said.