Researchers at University of Queensland found that the venom of the deadly funnel web spider can actually be an important resource for medical treatment. A protein in the venom, Hi1a, can reduce brain damage from strokes and block the “death signal” of heart attacks.
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The “death signal” occurs during a heart attack, when blood flow to the heart slows down, less oxygen goes to the heart muscle, and the cell environment becomes more acidic. This combination of changes signals the heart cells to die. Hi1a prevents this by “blocking acid-sensing ion channels in the heart,” which allows less heart cells to die.
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This could buy more time for first responders, especially those in rural areas where hospitals are farther away, and for heart attack victims in need of a transplant. Researchers hope see these same promising effects in human clinical trials in the next 2 to 3 years.
Click on the following link to view a video that outlines the research described in this article: https://youtu.be/K0zuAcAPLOU
Lavars, N. (2021, July 15). Protein in deadly spider venom blocks “death signal” after heart attack. News Atlas. https://newatlas.com/medical/funnel-web-spider-venom-death-signal-heart-attack-hi1a/?utm_source=New+Atlas+Subscribers&utm_campaign=08d7efbf8a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_07_16_02_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_65b67362bd-08d7efbf8a-76698122.