Spider venom could be used to prevent damaging effects of strokes

Spider venom could be used to prevent damaging effects of strokes

Venom from the funnel-web spider could treat stroke patients

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's something pretty much everyone fears... but research shows spider venom may actually be useful in treating strokes.

A protein has been discovered in the venom of Australia's funnel-web spider by researchers from the University of Queensland and Monash University, according to Smart Cooky.

During a stroke, blood flow to the brain is cut off - meaning cells start to die due to a lack of oxygen.

This protein could protect the brain from being damaged from a stroke, because it blocks the function of acid-sensing ion channels (which drive damage to the brain after a stroke).

So far scientists have tested their theory on rats, and it has shown that a single dose of the Hi1a protein given up to eight hours after a stroke has protected the brain tissue and improved neurological performance.

The next step will be to test the protein on human patients (although whether they get a flood of volunteers remains to be seen).