News ID: 198265
Published: 0540 GMT August 09, 2017

Lizard venom could yield blood clot treatment breakthrough

Lizard venom could yield blood clot treatment breakthrough
Researcher Bryan Fry poses with a desert spotted goanna, a monitor lizard species. Fry and his colleagues have been investigating the medicinal potential of monitor lizard venoms.

Scientists have created a variety of medicines using compounds discovered in the venoms of snakes, frogs, snails, jellyfish and other animals.

New research suggested lizard venoms could serve as an untapped source of medicinal compounds, UPI wrote.  

Specifically, scientists at the University of Queensland (QU) believe lizard venoms could yield new treatments for blood clots.

Research into lizard venoms is relatively new. Until recently, biologists thought only a few lizards were venomous. But a number of new studies have revealed a surprisingly large number of venomous lizard species.

Bryan Fry, an assistant professor at QU, said, "We now know that far more lizards are venomous than previously thought, including the iconic Komodo dragon — the world's largest lizard.”

Fry and his colleagues have spent much time in the lab analyzing the venoms of 16 monitor lizard species, including the Komodo dragon.

Their analysis has identified a number of novel compounds with potential for use in the treatment of strokes.

Fry added, "By investigating the actions of lizard venoms, we can potentially use them to disrupt life-threatening blood clots, and turn these compounds into life-saving drugs.”

Lab tests suggest monitor lizard venoms can target fibrinogen, a protein important to blood clot formation.

Fry said, "It is this specialized targeting that has made similar snake venom enzymes so successful in treating blood diseases.”

Researchers detailed their analysis of monitor lizard venoms in the journal Toxins.

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