Cobra venom can help surgeons see boundaries of cancer

In collaboration with researchers from Assam’s Tezpur University, Russian scientists have developed a substance-based cobra venom and quantum dots that can glow and help surgeons see the boundaries of cancerous tumour.

Surgeons need to see the boundaries of the cancer because the more precisely the boundary is marked, the more effective the operation would be.

The researchers synthesised the substance from snake venom alpha-neurotoxins and semiconductor fluorescent nanoparticles, Sputnik news agency reported.

Researchers from Russia’s National University of Science and Technology MISIS (NUST MISIS) created a unique hybrid compound (conjugate) consisting of two molecules with different characteristics — alpha-neurotoxins derived from Thai cobra venom and semiconductor fluorescent quantum nanoparticles of cadmium selenide, the so-called quantum dots.

These compounds can be used to create medical test systems that visualise some types of malignant neoplasm, simply known as cancer.

The researchers from Assam analysed the cytotoxicity of alpha-neurotoxins, nerve growth factors, and their conjugates with fluorescent nanocrystals in various types of cells.

In the study, researchers used a unique characteristic of toxins — the selective interaction with cancer markers to visualise the tumour.

The compound reaches the infected organ with the blood flow and marks the entire boundary of the tumour with fluorescent nanoparticles, which lights up when irradiated with UV light, which the human eye cannot see.

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