Cuba is working on four research projects on anti-cancer treatments using the venom of a type of scorpion that is endemic to the island, government officials announced Tuesday.
One of those projects, which is being undertaken by the Cuban firm Labiofam, has come to fruition and the homeopathic medication Vidatox is already being sold in Cuba. Vidatox is a pain-alleviating therapeutic measure that is intended to compliment the treatment of cancer symptoms.
These and other experiences will be presented at the 2nd International Conference being held by Labiofam next September along with a Symposium on Natural Products in Therapy against Cancer, according to what company president José Antonio Fraga said at a press conference.
Cuban scientists have verified that the toxin in the venom of the Rophalorus junceus scorpion has an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumoral effect.
The toxin is extracted from the scorpion using electrical stimulation and each animal can contribute about 0.02 milliliters of venom, equivalent to two or three drops.
To enable scientists to pursue this research, which was begun 15 years ago, Cuba created a network of scorpion raisers all over the country, Fraga noted, adding that the research leading to the creation of the medication cost some 23 million pesos (almost $1 million).
Cuba is one of Latin America's leaders in cancer treatment and cancer research, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez heading to the island to receive treatment for his yet-to-be-announced form of cancer. The United Kingdom is also testing a therapeutic vaccine for advanced lung cancer developed in Cuba.
Based on reporting by EFE.