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Snake Venoms in Drug Discovery: Valuable Therapeutic Tools for Life Saving

1
Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA
2
Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Minia University, El-Minia 61519, Egypt
3
Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo 05508-900, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(10), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11100564
Received: 21 August 2019 / Revised: 20 September 2019 / Accepted: 22 September 2019 / Published: 25 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Venoms)
Animal venoms are used as defense mechanisms or to immobilize and digest prey. In fact, venoms are complex mixtures of enzymatic and non-enzymatic components with specific pathophysiological functions. Peptide toxins isolated from animal venoms target mainly ion channels, membrane receptors and components of the hemostatic system with high selectivity and affinity. The present review shows an up-to-date survey on the pharmacology of snake-venom bioactive components and evaluates their therapeutic perspectives against a wide range of pathophysiological conditions. Snake venoms have also been used as medical tools for thousands of years especially in tradition Chinese medicine. Consequently, snake venoms can be considered as mini-drug libraries in which each drug is pharmacologically active. However, less than 0.01% of these toxins have been identified and characterized. For instance, Captopril® (Enalapril), Integrilin® (Eptifibatide) and Aggrastat® (Tirofiban) are drugs based on snake venoms, which have been approved by the FDA. In addition to these approved drugs, many other snake venom components are now involved in preclinical or clinical trials for a variety of therapeutic applications. These examples show that snake venoms can be a valuable source of new principle components in drug discovery. View Full-Text
Keywords: Snake venoms; toxins; pharmacology; therapeutic applications; drug discovery Snake venoms; toxins; pharmacology; therapeutic applications; drug discovery
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Mohamed Abd El-Aziz, T.; Soares, A.G.; Stockand, J.D. Snake Venoms in Drug Discovery: Valuable Therapeutic Tools for Life Saving. Toxins 2019, 11, 564.

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