Cancer Medicine in Wasp Toxin? | The Institute for Creation Research

Cancer Medicine in Wasp Toxin?

A short protein, or peptide, in wasp toxin may one day treat human cancer in a whole new way. Researchers isolated a particular peptide from the venom of Brazilian Polybia paulista wasps and studied how it seeks and destroys cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. They uncovered intriguing details that enable this average-looking peptide to become a cell-destroying weapon.

On a molecular scale, the MP1 peptide looks like a tiny corkscrew. One side of it chemically meshes with the oily membrane that surrounds a cell, and its other side has chemical charges that attract water.

Research published in Biophysical Journal shows how several of these two-sided helical peptides land side-by-side to form a big molecular ring. They created giant holes in simulated cancer cells.1 The holes get so big that cellular contents spill out, and the cancer cell simply dies. As long as these peptides withhold their lethal tactic from normal body cells, who wouldn't want them in our bodies killing cancer cells?

Research into this possibility is still in its early stages. Co-senior study author from the University of Leeds said in a Cell Press news release, "As it has been shown to be selective to cancer cells and non-toxic to normal cells in the lab, this peptide has the potential to be safe, but further work would be required to prove that."2

The Biophysical Journal study authors wrote that cancer cells happen to have two unique chemicals embedded in their cell membranes. They found that when both of these chemicals are present, MP1 peptides make holes that are over 20 times larger than when only one of the chemicals is there—as is the case with normal cells. Like cancer cells, bacteria cells have both chemicals. Prior studies show MP1's effectiveness as both an antibiotic and in targeting bladder cancer cells. These new results reveal MP1's tactics.

Most modern medicines come from natural, God-created chemicals, including aspirin, botox, and penicillin that fungi, plants, and other creations use for various purposes. The Brazilian wasp uses MP1 in conjunction with other toxins to defend its home from invaders in today's no-longer "very good" creation.3 But in isolation, MP1 may someday become a useful anti-cancer drug for humans. If so, then those who benefit from it will have good reason to thank the Creator for crafting the toxin and for endowing mankind with the cleverness and moral sensibility to fight cancer.

References

  1. Leite, N.B. et al. 2015. PE and PS Lipids Synergistically Enhance Membrane Poration by a Peptide with Anticancer Properties. Biophysical Journal. 109 (5): 936-947.
  2. Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up. Cell Press news release via EurekAlert! Posted on eurekalert.org September 1, 2015, accessed September 21, 2015. 
  3. Genesis 1:31

Image credit: Cell Press News. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.

*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on October 6, 2015.

The Latest
CREATION.LIVE PODCAST
Forged in Faith: The Hard Work of Making Disciples | Creation.Live...
Jesus commanded that we make disciples, but what does that mean in this modern world? Has the church gone soft?   Hosts Trey and...

NEWS
Algal Microfossils Show No Evolution
Creation scientists maintain that if something is living, then it’s automatically complex. This applies to organisms ranging from a single bacterium...

CREATION PODCAST
Rapid Erosion Devastates Deep Time! | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Erosion takes place slowly, over millions of years, right? That's what mainstream science tells us anyway. Or, does erosion happen far more...

NEWS
Flood Solves Land and Marine Mixing Near the Andes
A recent article published by Hakai Magazine claims to reveal secrets of an ancient inland sea that existed east of the Andes Mountains,1...

NEWS
T. rex Out of Nowhere
As one of the largest predators ever at 45 feet long, it’s no wonder school children are enthralled with Tyrannosaurus rex. But where did the...

NEWS
February 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:11 NKJV) ICR February 2024 wallpaper is now available...

NEWS
Evolutionist and ICR Research Both Attempting to Explain Fossil...
Recent evolutionary research is attempting to provide an explanation for why some animals became smaller over time. Or equivalently, it is attempting...

NEWS
Animal Features Did Not Evolve
There’s no doubt that animals in God’s creation have iconic features. The question is, did these features evolve or were they created that...

CREATION PODCAST
Taking a Closer Look at Uniquely Human Eyes | The Creation Podcast:...
While we might take them for granted, our eyes are incredibly complex organs. How do they work? Is it possible for eyes to have evolved over long...

NEWS
The Conserved Complexity of Eye Cell Types
The late leading evolutionary biologist, Ernst Mayr, said the eye appeared at least 40 times “during the evolution of animal diversity.”1...