Thomasian biochemists eye spider venom to cure heart, brain diseases

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THOMASIAN biochemists are eyeing spider venom as a cure for heart and brain illnesses and also as remedy for pain.

“Spiders are some of the most diverse invertebrates, producing [substances] that can potentially be used for the treatment of pain, cardiovascular diseases and some neurological disorders,” Asst. Prof. Myla Santiago, head of the UST Proteomics and Venomics (ProVe) group, told the Varsitarian.

Santiago said the research program was developed to explore the potential of Philippine spiders of the families Theraposidae and Lycosidae for therapeutic use.

Studies on the biological activity of venom extracted from Philippine spiders have yet to be conducted.

The project received P9 million in funding from the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHEd) Research Development and Extension Grants-in-Aid Program.

On Sept. 6, the UST ProVe group met with Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron during the the congressional hearing for the CHEd budget at the Batasang Pambansa.

Biron discussed policy guidelines to enhance support for innovation and intellectual property protection systems for Philippine spider biodiversity and conservation.

“[We hope] more concrete legislation will be proposed to support the protection of pharmacological patents and innovations from the Philippines’ natural resources,” Santiago said.

The research will be in collaboration with the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology and the City University of New York, College of Staten Island.

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