Chronic pain relief from snail saliva

Friday 6th August, 2010

Sea snails may provide the next generation of medications for treating chronic and severe pain.

Scientists have developed an oral tablet by isolating sea snail saliva and results may be as effective as morphine.

Sea snails have the ability to inject toxins known as conotoxins into prey through their needle-like teeth. These toxins contain peptides which can relieve severe neuropathic pain without addictive side-effects. Until now, only a synthetic version which is injected into the spinal column has worked.

The team of Australian scientists from the Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland have developed a version that can be taken orally and tests have shown the drug to be as effective as the most popular neuropathic pain killer ‘gabapentic’.

If further trials are successful, the new pain killing drug could revolutionise chronic and terminal pain management.



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