Centipede venom blocks pain
A compound taken from the legs of centipede may offer a new, potent pain reliever for people living with chronic pain, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The molecule they discovered was better than morphine in some cases, and unlike morphine, the centipede venom compound did not have side effects on the mice, and did not seem to create tolerance or addiction.
The venom compound seems to block a specific sodium channel in cells, which in humans works by translating painful sensations to feelings of pain in the brain. Some people are born with genetic mutations that make this channel nonfunctional. These people are perfectly healthy, but feel no pain and can’t smell anything.
For the study, mice were subjected to pain from several sources, such as acid and heat. Those who were given the compound felt much less pain than the control mice, and the relief was equivalent to that of opioids. They also found no side effects, which they think would translate to humans based on the people with the gene mutations.