Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research study finds honeybee venom rapidly kills aggressive breast cancer cells.
Dr. Ciara Duffy, as part of her Ph.D. research, found that venom from honeybees helps to treat breast cancer cells. According to the study, the honeybee’s venom proved to have a lot of potentials. The use of bee’s venom remarkably kills the hard to treat breast cancer cells.
The research showed a specific concentration of the venom killed 100 percent of triple-negative breast cancer and HER2-enriched breast cancer cells within 60 minutes while having minimal effects on normal cells.
This research had also found that when the venom’s main component combined with existing chemotherapy drugs, it was extremely efficient at reducing tumor growth in mice. The concentrations at which aggressive breast cancer cells got killed are not damaging to normal cells, using the venom of honeybees.
Dr. Duffy’s Work
For her research, Dr. Duffy harvested venom from honeybee hives at the University of Western Australia, as well as in Ireland and England. According to her, Perth bees are among the healthiest in the world. The bees with the venom, put to sleep with CO2. The bees kept on ice before extracting the venom and injecting it into tumors.
“A component of the venom called melittin had the pernicious effect. Researchers reproduced it synthetically and found it mirrored the majority of the anti-cancer effects of the honeybee venom. What melittin does is it enters the surface of the plasma membrane and forms holes or pores, and it just causes the cell to die,” Dr. Duffy said.
Another discovery which the researchers also discovered within 20 minutes, the melittin had another powerful effect. It effectively shut down the signaling pathways for the reproduction of triple-negative and HER2 cancer cells.
Dr. Duffy hopes the discovery could lead to the development of a treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, which accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all breast cancers and for which there are currently no clinically significant targeted therapies.