Dr. Conus magus
The venom produced by Conus magus has shown to be very useful in pain management drugs. It contains many peptides that work together to immobilize prey. After years of research it was discovered that these peptides specifically block N-type calcium channels in the nervous system. When these channels receive pain signals from nerve cells they open up and convey that pain, but if they are blocked, the brain does not receive the signals and no pain is experienced. In December 2004 the company Elan Pharmaceuticals received FDA approval for ziconotide, a synthetic N-type calcium channel blocking peptide derived from the venom of Conus magus. It is currently being sold under the trade name Prialt for the alleviation of chronic pain in cancer and AIDS patients who are unresponsive to other pain treatments, like morphine. Research has shown that no dependence or tolerance has developed in the patients using ziconotide, eliminating the side effect of addiction that has posed a big problem in other pain treatments. Prialt was the first drug to be derived from a marine species and has prompted a wave of exploration into finding other ocean dwelling organisms that have something to offer the medicinal world.
This discovery has turned out to be very influential in the medicinal world and is the main reason that I chose to research and create a website about Conus magus. To learn more about me, the author, please visit About the Author.