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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Update

Air Date: Week of

Diane Toomey reports that medical researchers are making use of a natural poison to treat a number of diseases.


TOOMEY: Findings from two groups of researchers bring news that might take the sting out of some diseases. California researchers have found that a manmade chemical based on scorpion venom can suppress the activation of T-cells, those all-important workhorses in our immune system. Researchers hope to use the substance to develop new drugs to fight off organ transplant rejection, and to treat autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Meanwhile, in Mexico, scientists have found a compound in scorpion venom that can block the growth of malaria parasites. They say if they can genetically modify mosquitoes to produce this substance, something they've already done with fruit flies, they might be able to curb the spread of malaria at its source. And that's this week's environmental health update. I'm Diane Toomey.



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