Many wasp species have chemicals in their venom that kill bacteria. In the last few years, researchers have found that some of these chemicals also kill cancer cells, though exactly how they work has remained a mystery.Now a new study has described exactly how one of these chemicals works its cancer-fighting magic: by tearing holes in the cancer cells’ outer layer.
Marked for DestructionThe venom of the Brazilian wasp Polybia paulista contains a molecule called MP1. It’s been previously found that MP1 can inhibit the growth of prostate and bladder cancer cells, as well as multi-drug-resistant leukemia, but it doesn’t harm healthy cells.But the question was how. Researchers suspected that the answer lay in the cells’ membranes. That’s because the cancer cells that MP1 targets have two fatty molecules, or lipids, in their external membrane that normal cells don’t have.These lipids – phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) – now seem to be the signposts that mark a cancer cell for destruction.
This is all good news and progress towards a possible cure for this horrible disease that ends life in such an undignified and horrible way.
The conservative feels safe and content only if he is assured that some higher wisdom watches and supervises change, only if he knows that some authority is charged with keeping the change "orderly.
In other words a bunch of cap-doffers and forelock tuggers.
- The Tartan terror. Keeper of the royal sporran. Chief Haggis Hunter
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