Scorpions Bred In Cuba For Anti-Cancer Venom

CIEGO DE AVILA (Cuba), June 21 (PRENSA LATINA) — The breeding of scorpions in captivity is progressing in this central Cuban province under a national program to increase the production of medicine for treating cancer.

Specialists of the Pharmaceutical Biological Laboratory (LABIOFAM) in Ciego de Avila extract venom from the “Rhopalurus junceus” scorpion to make the medicine.

Between 900 and 1,000 milliliters of the toxin are obtained monthly in the laboratory located in the city of Moron and sent to LABIOFAM in Havana for processing, sources said.

Madelin Hilacha, quality control technician at the center said that they can obtain five drops of venom from each scorpion, depending on the concentration of protein and the scorpion’s strength.

The scorpions are captured from rocky, damp areas, especially in the cays north of Ciego de Avila and in the municipality of Florencia, areas rich in the animals.

The captured scorpions are classified and kept in containers with the necessary water and food for about two years and then they are returned to their natural habitat, to preserve the species, Hilacha said.

The anticancer effect of their venom was discovered 20 years ago in Guantanamo, prompting more detailed research, he said.

The toxoin obtained from the scorpion venom has benefited thousands of Cuban and foreign patients from Europe and Latin America, in the treatment of lung, breast, uterus, colon, prostate and pancreas cancer. It has also been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, Cuban medical sources said.

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