Snake cells grown in the lab produce venom we could use as medicine

Quirks and Quarks


According to the World Health Organization over one hundred thousand people die from snake bites every year and and an estimated four hundred thousand more people are left permanently disabled with injuries like amputations paralysis bleeding disorders and irreversible irreversible. Tissue damage. Just to name a few. It's been called. The world's biggest hidden health crisis. Snake bite is a huge problem with a very the effective solution. anti-venom but anti-venom is made from snake venom itself and making it comes with some significant challenges chiefly chiefly that you need to milk alive snake to get that venom which is a very tricky and laborious process. That means anti-venom is inaccessible. Oh to the people who need it most but all of that could soon change with new research out of you trek university in the Netherlands. Dr Hans Cleavers is one of the world's leading stem cell. Researchers he's known for his pioneering work using human stem cells to grow small model organs called Organiz and in in his lab three of his students employed this technology with snake stem cells to make lab grown venom glands and this could mean the end of of milking snakes Dr Clippers welcomed quirks and quarks high. Now you normally work with human stem cells. How did you end up working with snake stem cells? Yeah that's a good question. I actually asked my three students Who did this in the first place? Why they started doing this? And this is what they call a Friday afternoon experiment. Essentially they took the research from my lap which has been essentially establishing protocols to grow human mini Orange Prince directly from from individual humans. And they asked so what would be the most iconic Oregon Debbie no culture so we we knew how to coach her most human organs by the end and then he came up with this van bland. So what's the fundamental process. Here you want to do to try to make snake venom out of snake stem themselves so you get a small bit of tissue from snake. Venom Bunt grinded up and even smaller pieces we stick of. NHL that mostly just quality and then the anti growth factors the ethic medium and then everything dies in a little bit of tissue exception of the stem cells else start building your started building a mini version of the orbit. Come from in this case snake on land and let me just watched growing Takes about a week date roebuck tenfold. In size many lands be up go for one Petrie dish to temperature dishes The next we go from ten to one hundred issue so these these mini glands grow extremely rapidly. They have the stem cells of glance but they also have the cells that make talk cents. Wow so you're talking about making many organs. What do they look like? So many orange look like a tiny at next one millimeter. Ailing me turn diameter. They're like little backs Whole bags of south essentially the inside of that bag will slowly fill the fan that yeah no defined innovation lab? So they're microscopic versions of the organs that make the Venom and they actually make the venom itself exactly. Have you learned things. Maybe learned that first of all that. The snake venom contains many many different venomous components. We also learned that in Glen. There are different cells of take different dachshunds. So could've easily makes everything turns out that inside the gland specialized cells at each made their own unique set talks. Wow Okay so you have your venom now. The the idea here is to make anti-venom to treat people who've been bitten by snakes how anti-venom anti-venom made currently so how it's done is a snake. Farm has one or more over the most snake species over a particular region and are more than two thousand different snakes. They are milked so vannice. Essentially extracted from plants and that goes straight into a horse. I always had horses and those horses will then make antibodies against him and at the League president their blood and serum era in Expected from these horses and that's sold as so now that you're able to produce venom in the laboratory with your organize. How with with the development of anti-venom change? Yeah so if I would have the money to do this and do it the way that girl drug companies develop these I would. It's very carefully. Look at what what components are in this particular and then by very modern recombinant technologies make an antibody asset and that would involve orse is entirely done in the lab using sophisticated united technologies and there would be no live snakes involved here though well so for every snake venom you would actually have to have your hands or one snake and get tissue and grow organs and then you would have an internal source of that particular. That particular snake can also particular snake. That's out in the wild because you have it's DNA could retain take DNA code and many many other things so the idea is to build up a library of snakes stem cells of different different species. Yeah collaborate with a form who is very public scientists in Holland like like symbol stark. Steve Orbit who travels the world makes movies of fairies animals so he has composed a list of fifty most iconic animals reptiles and he skirted providing uh-huh uh-huh and if you're teaching his lap also to take small tissue on these From all these animals and turn them into organize and create a large by thirty four fifty species start with to start finding out how to best make anti serum but also another important of Asian you can you can design designer drugs for diseases space on venom from snakes. Dr Clubbers thank you very much for your time. Okay thanks and Dr Hans. Cleavers is with the Hubris Institute for Developmental Biology and stem cell research at you tracked university in the Netherlands.

Coming up next