From a Spider Venom to an Analgesic in Mice

Animals can use venom to capture their prey, but spiders and other venomous creatures also use their venom to deter predators. Inflicting pain via a venom is a highly effective defense mechanism that teaches potential predators (and their offspring) to stay away. This is like accidentally touching a hot stove—you live to tell the tale, don’t do it again, and can warn others of the danger.

But does what we see occurring in nature apply to the context of chronic pain in people? This was the focus of the John Bonica Named Lecture at the 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian Pain Society, which was delivered by Glenn King, University of Queensland. King made the argument that animal venoms could potentially be used to understand pain perception in people and serve as a source of safer and more effective pain relievers.

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Published by Pain Reserach Forum.

Lincoln M. Tracy
Research Fellow and Freelance Writer