Scientists use scorpion venom to cure cancer
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Scientists claim to have developed a new homeopathic drug from the venom of the blue scorpion to cure a range of common human cancers.
The homeopathic drug from the venom of the blue scorpion (Rhopalurus junceus), an endemic species in the western part of Cuba, can be used to treat a wide range of cancers such as those of the breast, liver, brain, prostate and lung, according to an annual symposium held in Cuba.
The symposium showcased the study of Cuban researchers into scorpion venom with a new drug called Vidatox 30 CH, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Vidatox, produced by Cuba's Entrepreneurial Group for Bio-Pharmaceutical and Chemical Productions (Labiofam), can help increase survival rates of cancer patients, prevent the spread of cancerous cells and improve the quality of life, the report said.
Cancer has been the second leading cause of death in Cuba among all age groups for more than four decades. About 18,000 people die of cancer in Cuba every year, according to official figures.
More than 27,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed each year, the official daily Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) cited Sunday Dr Moses Santos, a specialist in internal medicine, as saying.
The disease has become the leading cause of death among children aged 5 to 10, oncologist Dr Jorge Alvarez said.
Cuba also markets four cancer vaccines to combat the disease, which are developed by the Havana Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) and exports them to 26 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
The vaccines are divided into "supportive drugs" used to reduce the harmful effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and "specific drugs" designed to fight tumours.