Templar – A groundbreaking research initiative at the Templar University for Science & Technology (TUST) has reached an important milestone in the quest for an innovative chronic pain treatment. After four years of extensive investigation and promising preclinical studies, the team led by Professor Lucille Deeds at TUST’s Applied Animal Anatomy Applications lab (4A lab) has announced the commencement of human testing using the venom of the Sanctarian Red Viper.
The initial research findings, published in 2019, revealed the analgesic properties found in the venom of this particular snake species. Deeds’ team has, over the subsequent years, been undertaking comprehensive studies, refining the isolation and purification of the venom’s active protein compounds, and conducting rigorous preclinical trials to evaluate its safety and efficacy.
Encouragingly, the preclinical trials have demonstrated significant potential in alleviating chronic pain conditions. The venom’s unique protein components have shown enhanced pain-relieving properties compared to traditional opiate-based medications, while also exhibiting a reduced risk of addiction and dependency.
Now, with regulatory approvals and ethical clearances in place, the research team has embarked on the critical next phase of testing – human clinical trials. The focus of these trials will be to assess the safety, dosage, and effectiveness of Sanctarian Red Viper venom as a potential long-term treatment for chronic pain.
The transition to human testing marks a major step forward in the development of this potentially groundbreaking therapy. Professor Deeds wrote in a statement released to the press that she and her team are “collaborating closely with medical professionals, pain management specialists, and regulatory authorities to ensure the utmost care and adherence to rigorous scientific standards” throughout the trials.
According to Deeds, the human clinical trials will involve a carefully selected group of participants living with chronic pain conditions. The objective is to evaluate the efficacy of Sanctarian Red Viper venom in providing sustained pain relief, improving the overall quality of life for individuals enduring chronic pain, and potentially reducing the need for traditional pain medications.
While it may take several years to complete the clinical trials and gather comprehensive data on safety and efficacy, the research team remains cautiously optimistic. In addition, their research in uncovering the potential benefits of animal-derived substances has also drawn interest and support from various funding organisations, other academic institutions, and private pharmaceutical companies.
A press officer for TUST has said that the university is “very proud” of the work the 4A lab has been doing and that “the advancement of Sanctarian Red Viper venom as a potential chronic pain treatment highlights the importance of exploring nature’s resources and leveraging scientific advancements to address critical medical challenges”. The 4a lab hopes that as the clinical trials progress, the outcomes will shape the future of chronic pain treatment, with the goal of introducing a new era of innovative therapies derived from unexpected sources in the animal kingdom.
MARY-ANN TALBOT, Science, Space & Technology Correspondent