Honeybees are any group of insects within the family Apidae, order Hymenoptera. While essentially all bees make honey, honeybees specifically pertain to seven members of the genus Apis. They are also referred to as the European or Western honeybee. In recent studies, researchers have found out that honeybee venom had medical advantages. But did you know that their venom might be the cure for cancer?
A lab study discovered honeybee venom containing the compound “melittin.” The compound inhibits cancer cell growth on its own and can be synthesized. One venom concentration killed cancer cells in one hour while causing no harm to other cells.
How Did the Scientists Discover the Cure?
Researchers examined the venom of over 300 honeybees and bumblebees. One concentration of venom was discovered to kill cancer cells in an hour while causing minimal harm to other cells. However, the toxicity increased at higher dosage levels.
The melittin compound was also found to be effective in shutting down or disrupting cancer cell growth on its own, according to the researchers. While the compound is found naturally in honeybee venom, it can also be synthesized.
Traditionally, surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy have been used to treat triple-negative breast cancer, which is one of the most aggressive types. It is responsible for 10-15% of all breast cancers.
Honeybee extracts were discovered to be extremely potent.Ciara Duffy, Ph.D. Researcher
(Source: BBC News)
Will Honey Bee Venom Eventually Be Used to Treat Cancer?
The research was described as incredibly exciting by Australian scientists. However, the researchers warn that more studies are needed to determine whether the venom could be used as a cancer-fighting drug on a large scale.
This research shows how melittin interferes with signaling pathways within breast cancer cells to reduce cell replication. It’s yet another great example of how natural compounds can be used to treat human diseases.Peter Klinken, Australian Medical Researcher
While bee venom has been previously found to have anti-cancer properties for melanoma, the scientists feel it is quite early to actually determine if this is the future of cancer treatment.
It’s still very early. Many compounds can kill a breast cancer cell in a dish or a mouse. However, there is still a long way to go before those discoveries can be used to change clinical practice.Alex Swarbrick, Medical Research
(Source: BBC News)
What are the Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects of Bee Venom?
Today, bee venom is used in a variety of ways and comes in a variety of forms. It’s used in extracts, supplements, moisturizers, and serums, among other things. Apitherapy is a complementary medicine practice that uses bee products, including venom, to treat and prevent illnesses, pain, and other symptoms.
It provides another wonderful example of where compounds in nature can be used to treat human diseases.Peter Klinken, Australian Medical Researcher
Honey Bee venom is used in live bee acupuncture or bee-sting therapy, which is a treatment method that involves placing live bees on your skin and inducing a sting. (Source: Healthline)