Snail Venom Drug

The venom of a sea snail could ease hard to treat pain in cancer and AIDS patients. That's according to new research published in the Hournal of the American Medical Association.

Less than one inch long, small sea snails contain venom that paralyze their prey. Re-creating nature, a man made version of the potent has been shown to relieve severe pain, especially in cancer patients.

Named Ziconotide, the drug wirks by coating the spinal column. Similar to Epidurals used in childbirth, patients are able to move without pain. The medication is delivered into the spinal cord area and helps numb some of the pain that's felt through the central nervous system.

A small battery operated pump implanted in the patient's back provides constant medication. Some side effects like dizziness were found in about 20%of patients. Risks that may be outweighed by the benefit of having another line of defense in fighting pain.

Elan, the makers of the venom drug Ziconotide is now seeking FDA approval. and say with approval they expect the drug to be available within the year.