Although the honeybee is best known for its role as a pollinator, research in Western Australia has put it in the spotlight as a key part of the fight against two aggressive forms of breast cancer.
According to a new study speak Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research, it was found that “bee venom induces cancer cell death in hard-to-treat triple negative breast cancer with minimal effect on healthy cells.”
How was the study conducted?
Dr Ciara Duffy of the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research and the University of Western Australia, used the venom of 312 bees and bumblebees from Perth in Western Australia, Ireland and England, to test “the effect. venom on clinical breast cancer subtypes, including triple negative breast cancer, for which treatment options are limited, ”the study said.
The aim of the research was to study both the anticancer properties of bee venom and a component, melittin, on different types of breast cancer cells, Dr Duffy said.
What did the study find?
Conclusions, which were published in the international journal Nature’s Precision Oncology, found that triple negative breast cancer and HER2 enriched breast cancer cells were quickly destroyed by bee venom.
“We found that bee venom and melittin significantly, selectively and rapidly reduced the viability of triple negative breast cancer and HER2-enriched breast cancer cells. The venom was extremely potent, ”said Dr Duffy.
The study found that within an hour, melittin can completely destroy the membranes of cancer cells.
According to the study, another remarkable effect of melittin was its ability, in less than 20 minutes, “to dramatically reduce chemical messages from cancer cells which are essential for cell growth and division of cancer cells.”
The researchers also found that melittin could be reproduced synthetically, “and found that the synthetic reflected the majority of the anti-cancer effects of bee venom,” said Dr. Duffy.
Could the results be integrated into existing cancer treatments?
Dr Duffy tested to see if melittin could be used with existing chemotherapy drugs, and the study found that “the combination of melittin and docetaxel was extremely effective in reducing tumor growth in mice.”