As the wide spread use of opioid medications become a hot topic and regarded as the world's worst drug pandemic in history, scientists are currently proposing a new alternative treatment substance to replace the dangerous drug. The medical community has long sought various alternatives to opioids that would be as effective while eliminating or reducing the addiction potential, and now, a team of scientists have recently revealed that they might have just found the answer from the venom of a tiny sea snail. Dubbed as Conus Regius, or sometimes referred to as the 'crown cone' for its shell shape, this marine gastropod mollusk is said to be venomous that it contains a powerful painkiller that doesn't affect the same pathways targeted by opioids.
Sea Snail Venom Works Better Than Opioid Painkiller
According to reports revealed by Slash Gear, the painkilling compound called RglA, experts have described that the compound works by blocking nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, known as nAChR, which can serve as pathway receptors for pain. It was found that in order to see whether RgIA4 was effective for pain relief, the researchers were said to have administered the compound to rats and mice that had been given a chemotherapy drug that causes extreme sensitivity to cold and touch. Experts have added that it only takes four hours for this venom-derived compound to make its way through the body, but it continues to prevent pain even after 72 hours.
Furthermore, scientists believe that the prospects are exciting, and the compound is slated to enter pre-clinical testing to see whether this could one day be used as a pain reliever for humans. In one of his statements reported by Science Alert, J. Michael McIntosh, who happens to be a part of the team from Utah University has claimed that venom interactions that are not normally painful, like sheets rubbing against the body or pants against the leg, allegedly become painful. Additionally, the researchers suggest that the results serves as evidence that they've successfully isolated the molecular target that the venom compound acts upon - but of course, it's still early days for the analogue.
Meanwhile, despite the molecular modelling, the researchers have highly emphasized that there are no guarantees that just because RgIA4 blocked the pain pathway in rodents that it will do the same in people. However, researchers remain to be hopeful of the fact that future studies will be able to show that we've got a new mechanism for pain relief here; and one which could provide a much-needed alternative to opioids.