MAR 27, 2015 3:06 PM PDT

Cane Toads Potentially Lucrative Export in Cancer Fight

WRITTEN BY: Ilene Schneider
Wait before you whack that toad. Not only is it frowned upon to kill cane toads inhumanely, but the amphibian's venom could be worth a bucket-load.

That's the message from The University of Queensland School of Pharmacy's Dr Harendra Parekh, who is exploring how cane toad venom can be used to fight cancer.

"People are killing cane toads by the millions for free, but it's potentially a very lucrative export market for Australia with the Chinese being extremely interested in naturally derived health products," Dr Parekh said.

"The Australian cane toad is very similar to the Asiatic toad, whose venom has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

"We already have several companies interested, as the Chinese value Australian toads because of the environment they enjoy here."

Dr Jing Jing, former PhD student at UQ discovered that cane toad poison could kill cancerous prostate cells while sparing healthy cells.

"However, before we can take it to market, we need to improve the venom's solubility (ability to dissolve) ? which we are well on the way to achieving," Dr Jing said.

"Investigating applications for other cancers is also firmly on our radar."

UQ has previously secured a seed grant from Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Shenzhen China for the work being conducted in Dr Parekh's group.

The research team hopes to begin validation in animals soon.

Cane toads were introduced to Queensland in 1935 to control the cane beetle, but quickly multiplied and were declared a pest.

They have since spread to the Northern Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales.

Source: University of Queensland
About the Author
  • Ilene Schneider is the owner of Schneider the Writer, a firm that provides communications for health care, high technology and service enterprises. Her specialties include public relations, media relations, advertising, journalistic writing, editing, grant writing and corporate creativity consulting services. Prior to starting her own business in 1985, Ilene was editor of the Cleveland edition of TV Guide, associate editor of School Product News (Penton Publishing) and senior public relations representative at Beckman Instruments, Inc. She was profiled in a book, How to Open and Operate a Home-Based Writing Business and listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Advertising and Who's Who in Media and Communications. She was the recipient of the Women in Communications, Inc. Clarion Award in advertising. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ilene and her family have lived in Irvine, California, since 1978.
You May Also Like
APR 02, 2021
Cancer
Missing link identified for "bad" cholesterol
APR 02, 2021
Missing link identified for "bad" cholesterol
New research from a team at the University of Alberta has identified the protein that is associated with low-density lip ...
APR 10, 2021
Cancer
Administration of this immune-stimulating drug pre-surgery could help pancreatic cancer patients
APR 10, 2021
Administration of this immune-stimulating drug pre-surgery could help pancreatic cancer patients
New findings support the administration of a CD40 immune-stimulating drug to early-stage pancreatic cancer patients in a ...
JUN 09, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Faster, Cheaper Diagnosis of Rare Cancer in Fat Cells
JUN 09, 2021
Faster, Cheaper Diagnosis of Rare Cancer in Fat Cells
Scientists have created a gene panel test to quickly and more precisely diagnose common forms of liposarcoma. This break ...
JUN 05, 2021
Cancer
How is the new hospital price transparency rule going?
JUN 05, 2021
How is the new hospital price transparency rule going?
New findings from an analysis of hospital price transparency have been published recently in JAMA. The analysis was ...
JUN 14, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Can An Omega-3 Fatty Acid Destroy Tumors?
JUN 14, 2021
Can An Omega-3 Fatty Acid Destroy Tumors?
The body needs fatty acts for a variety of functions, and the health benefits of taking fatty acid supplements have long ...
JUN 26, 2021
Cancer
Immunotherapy Drug Shows Promise for Obese Patients with Breast Cancer
JUN 26, 2021
Immunotherapy Drug Shows Promise for Obese Patients with Breast Cancer
Research shows that obese patients with cancers including ovarian and melanoma may respond better to a certain kind of i ...
Loading Comments...