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Blood Clots Can Be Treated With Lizard Venom

Blood Clots Can Be Treated With Lizard Venom

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  • Venoms are used in designing and developing drugs, especially for stroke treatments
  • Lizard venoms have the potential to treat blood clotting diseases
  • Snake venom is used to treat high blood pressure

Various types of lizard venom are being studied by scientists for various possible treatments for blood clotting disorders. Annually, the blood clotting disorders lead to millions of cases of heart attack, stroke and deep-vein thrombosis.

Monitor Lizards are large lizards, which are found in Africa and all across Asia, including the surrounding seas.


Bryan Fry, expert Associate Professor of University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences said that research on snake venom has been extensive, while research on lizard venom was still in its infancy.

His latest research, "Enter the Dragon: The Dynamic and Multifunctional Evolution of Anguimorpha Lizard Venoms" sheds light on lizards that serve as potential sources of life-saving medication.

Dr. Fry said that there are many more lizards that are venomous than previously thought, like the iconic Komodo dragon, which is the world's largest lizard.

Using Venoms To Create Medications

The idea of using venoms in creating medication is not new. As snake venom has been used to treat high blood pressure, and whereas, cone snail venom has been in use in treating pain.

Dr. Fry said: "By investigating the actions of lizard venoms, we can potentially use them to disrupt life-threatening blood clots, and turn these compounds into life-saving drugs."

Venoms of 16 species of monitor lizards like the Komodo dragon and other related species from Africa, Asia, and Australia have been studied by Dr. Fry and his colleagues. These venoms were compared to the venom of four other lizards like the iconic Gila monster.

Multiple novel compounds were found by the research team, which included scientists from Australia, UK, USA, Macau and Hong Kong.

The research team found that some of these venoms have the potential to be used in drug design and development, especially in stroke treatments.

Many monitor lizard venoms in this study showed that they had a selective action on different chains of the blood coagulation protein fibrinogen.

"It is this specialized targeting that has made similar snake venom enzymes so successful in treating blood diseases," Dr. Fry said.

The latest research study conducted by Dr Fry was published in the journal Toxins.

Know About Blood Clotting Disorders

In the body, blood circulates inside the blood vessels (veins, arteries, and capillaries). In the case of any crack or damage to the vessel, bleeding occurs internally or externally.

The process of clot formation, which involves a range of clotting factors, occurs sequentially in a coagulation 'cascade.' Once the wound is healed, the clot dissolves.

In people with bleeding disorders, the clotting process is impaired and results in spontaneous bleeding. Bleeding disorders do not have a permanent cure. However, they can be managed.

  1. Ivan Koludarov, et al. Enter the Dragon: The Dynamic and Multifunctional Evolution of Anguimorpha Lizard Venoms. Toxins (2017). 9(8), 242. DOI: 10.3390/toxins9080242

Source: Medindia

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