Snake venom drug to prevent thrombosis


Scientists have now created a safer drug for the prevention of thrombosis, made from snake venom. According to a study released this week by the American Heart Association.

It is a drug of the class of medicines that prevents the captivation and agglomeration of platelets (blood cells) as well as the formation of clots, which is used to prevent cerebrovascular thromboses or even cardiovascular disease. Existing anticoagulant medications, some of which also rely on snake venom, have a serious side effect and can cause prolonged bleeding following an injury.

It was the researchers at the National Taiwan University who developed this new drug to interact with a protein, the glycoprotein VI, located on the surface of the platelets. In a study conducted earlier, the team found that a protein found in the venom of a snake species, the snake’s “Tropidolaemus wagleri,” which is native to South East Asia, stimulates platelets to form clots in the blood by binding to the glycoprotein SAW.

Previous work has concluded that platelets without glycoprotein VI do not form clots in patients and do not lead to serious bleeding, which has led scientists to believe that blocking the action of the glycoprotein could prevent the onset of clots and avoid the effects of prolonged bleeding.

The new study, released this week, may be the first to describe a molecule based on the structure of a protein specific to snake venom (the protein has the scientific name “trowaglerix”) to block platelet surface protein activity.

The National University of Taiwan scientific team has already administered the new drug to rats and noted that clot formation was slower compared to that of non-drug-treated rodents. And, in addition, it was found that the medicated rats did not bleed more than the rats in the control group.

The researchers intend to optimize the effects of the drug, so that it interacts only with glycoprotein VI and not with other proteins thus avoiding undesirable reactions, as well as to test them again in animals and people.

Some of the current anticoagulant drugs target other proteins, glycoproteins IIb / IIIa, and are based on another snake venom protein, but can cause bleeding, an adverse effect for which scientists at the University of Taiwan have not yet found an explanation. The study was published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, edited by the American Heart Association.