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Venom gland organoids may lead to wider treatments

Scientists from the Hubrecht Institute, Netherlands, have grown organoids of snake venom glands to produce real venom, which could be used to create antidotes to snake bites (see video).

The team, including scientists from EARA member Maastricht University, took stem cells, which have the ability to develop into different cell types, from the venom glands of nine snake species.

Using these stem cells, and the same hormones and proteins that promote growth in human and mouse cells, they grew the venom gland organoids.

In addition to helping the treatment of snake bites and understanding of how venom is made, the team hopes to compile a 'biobank' of frozen venom gland organoids from different species which could find broader treatments beyond antidotes, including drugs for pain, high blood pressure, and cancer.

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