Snake Venom Source: Cobra (Naja naja atra)

Research Aim: Anti-Tumour

Research Phase: Pre clinical

Membrane toxin, mostly exhibits a cytotoxin activity. At a proper dosage, Cytotoxin has a selective killer effect to many oncocyte, but exhibits no detectable effect to both the human erythrocyte, cardiomyocytes, and other normal cell.
Cytotoxins are the major active proteins found in cobra venoms and constitute up to approximately 40% of total protein in crude venom. They are composed of 60-63 amino acid residues with the molecule weight 6-7KD. They exhibit a wide array of biological activities, such as lyse tumor cells; inhibit the activity of enzymes, e.g. Na+-K+-ATP enzyme, Ca2+-ATP enzyme etc. Various snake species in various districts contains different types of cytotoxin. And there are 2-5 types of cytotoxin in a single snake species. A lot of studies have verified that CTX exhibit anti-tumor effects in vitro and in vivo. We isolated and purified four types of CTX from the venom of Naja naja atra, and compared their anti-tumor effects (in vitro and in vivo) and toxicities in order to sift out one high-efficient and low-toxic CTX. CTX can destroy the cell membrane specifically, so it is hopeful that CTX will become the “warhead” of “biology missile”, it is a new way to treatment for the tumor patient.