This project aims to scientifically validate the use of blue scorpion molecules and convert them into a coadjuvant for treating common forms of cancer.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that cancer is the world’s number one cause of death. Around 10 million deaths were attributed to it in 2020 alone.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer is generally defined as a disease in which some cells in the body multiply uncontrollably, spreading to other parts of the body and causing the development of malignant tumors.
Although there are many types of neoplasms, colon, prostate, and breast cancer are the most frequent. It is precisely the last two of these which an interdisciplinary group from Tec de Monterrey and the company LifEscozul are looking to treat with blue scorpion venom.
Even though the most recent data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) did not place cancer within the top three causes of death in Mexico in 2021, it’s still cause for concern.
The Institute revealed that, between 2010 and 2018, deaths related to malignant tumors went up from 70,240 to 85,754. In 2020, the nationwide death toll reached more than one million, with Sonora, Chihuahua, Morelos, Veracruz, Colima, and Mexico City being the states with the highest number of deaths from cancer.
Given this, a multidisciplinary research team from Tecnológico de Monterrey and LifEscozul are working together on the development and innovation of new cancer treatments using new molecules derived from blue scorpion venom.
According to an official statement issued by the university, blue scorpion venom, from a species endemic to Cuba, has already been used as a natural alternative remedy for cancer.
Based on the good results achieved so far, those involved in the project are looking for scientific support which will validate its use and sale.
César Puente Garza, project leader and professor of Bioengineering at the School of Engineering and Sciences (EIC), explained that validating the blue scorpion molecules will allow the team to create a coadjuvant for treating breast and prostate cancers.
After performing this validation, the next stage would be to submit it to a preclinical evaluation by the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (EMCS) at Tecnológico de Monterrey.
In order to do this, the research team will analyze the effectiveness and toxicity of these molecules using an in vitro system, and they’ll later be tested in vivo in rodents, explained Fabiola Castorena, project scientist and coordinator of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences at EMCS.
In this way, it’ll be possible to verify the effect they have on healthy and cancerous cells.
What’s more, the research also aims to study active biomolecules and thus discover other therapeutic effects.
Silverio García Lara, research professor and leader of the AgroBio unit within the Nutriomics research group at Tec de Monterrey, said that there’s a global trend for using alternative therapies to mitigate other chronic-degenerative disease treatments, to make them as natural as possible.
Although the research work is being carried out in Mexico, the collaborative agreement also includes support for colleagues from other South American countries who are working on treating cancer.
Blue scorpion venom, from the Rhopalurus junceus species, is used in anticancer treatments.
Microbiologist Dr. Orlando Pérez Delgado carried out a study entitled Scientific Advances in Scorpion Venom, published by Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo Catholic University in Peru.
In the article, he points out that toxins produced by the blue scorpion are a mixture of peptides with different molecular weights, which are considered bioactive compounds because they have the ability to inhibit the growth or proliferation of bacteria, fungi, and cancer cells.