A new innovation for an effective treatment against snake bites A new innovation for an effective treatment against snake bites

A new innovation for an effective treatment against snake bites

A new innovation for an effective treatment against snake bites
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Researchers from Vrije University Amsterdam (VU), MIMETAS and the Naturalis Center for Biodiversity have demonstrated that the effects of snake venom can be examined on a 3D model of a false blood vessel.

The new model improves traditional research methods, such as using laboratory animals or cell cultures to detect the effect of the toxin, by mimicking human blood vessels.

“The vascular model for toxicology research offers the advantage of taking into account many important influences that the body experiences, such as blood flow or the structure and shape of blood vessels,” explains toxicologist Matthias Bettenbinder, the study's first author.

The 3D blood vessel model, called the MIMETAS Prefabricated Organic Blood Vessel HUVEC, contributes to a better understanding of the harmful effects of snake venom on blood vessels and the rest of the body.

“This knowledge will help us develop better ways to treat snake bites, while also reducing the need for studies in mice,” Bittenbender says.

To test the model, the research team will use the venom of the Indian cobra (Naja naja), the West African carpet viper (Echis ocellatus), the multi-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus) and the Mozambican spitting cobra (Naja mossambica).

A venomous snake bite often causes severe internal bleeding, because the venom attacks the circulatory system and forms blood clots.

“If we better understand the substances in snake venom, we will also know better how to neutralize the toxins,” Bittenbinder explains.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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