Brazilian researchers began studying banana spider toxin that can aid erectile dysfunction.
Brazilian researchers began studying a curious side effect of banana spider bites: the toxin left victims with a painful and persistent erection.
This spider’s bite has a curious side effect which researchers believe can treat erectile dysfunction.
Researchers in Brazil are investigating whether spider venom could help treat erectile dysfunction.
The banana spider’s bite is known to cause painful, prolonged erections and scientists are now using its venom to develop a synthetic molecule.
According to Marcia Helena Borges researcher at FUNED (Ezequiel Dias Foundation) they “ saw that patients who came to the clinic and had been bitten by the spider presented a characteristic symptom, which was priapism, which is a painful and prolonged erection.”
The molecule triggers the release of nitric oxide, a chemical essential for erections as it increases blood circulation and allows blood vessels to widen.
The Banana spider is one of the most venomous in the world.
It is found in several South American countries and was nicknamed for its common presence in banana plantations. It is also called the “wandering spider” or “armed spider.”
Maria Elena, professor at UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) says the research could be especially important for men who have had their prostate removed.
“There is great resistance among men to undergo radical prostate surgery, for example in the case of cancer, because this leads to erectile dysfunction,” she says.
“And in this case, as the peptides are active in men who have had their prostate removed, it can further enable early cancer treatment.”
Biologist Carolina Nunes says that the compound created by the researchers has “great potential to become an internationally recognized medicine.”
After the first phase of clinical trials was approved by Brazil’s Anvisa regulatory agency, the medication has now moved into the second of three phases before being approved for sale.
Maria Elena de Lima, a UFMG researcher said the discovery of a potential erectile dysfunction treatment was a message “not to destroy animals, even poisonous ones, because there is a real library of molecules that are still unknown.”