Cone snails are extremely toxic marine snails. However, researchers have been inspired by the cone snail’s conotoxins, and they’re working to develop a new drug that could potentially help human patients suffering from chronic pain.
By modifying a specific conotoxin, researchers have been able to stabilize it. By working with rats that are models of neuropathic pain, they found that the conotoxin (IMB007) worked on pain at a much lower dose than gabapentin, a current medication used to manage neuropathic pain.
It’s possible that IMB007 could also have applications for other diseases, as well. Right now, there are definitely some challenges when considering the development of the drug for human applications, but hopefully further research will help overcome these challenges.
As someone who deals with chronic pain, I can tell you that a new option for relief is certainly needed. I’m thankful that researchers are working hard to be innovative in their drug development approaches, and in this case, I’m thankful for the inspiration of the cone snail! Read more about this research here.