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For decades, natural products in general and snake venoms (SV) in particular have been a rich source of bioactive compounds for drug discovery, and they remain a promising substrate for therapeutic development. Currently, a handful of SV-based drugs for diagnosis and treatment of various cardiovascular disorders and blood abnormalities are on the market. Likewise, far more SV compounds and their mimetics are under investigation today for diverse therapeutic applications, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria and cancer. In this review, we analyze the state of the art regarding SV-derived compounds with therapeutic potential, focusing on the development of antimicrobial and anticancer drugs. Specifically, information about SV peptides experimentally validated or predicted to act as antimicrobial and anticancer peptides (AMPs and ACPs, respectively) has been collected and analyzed. Their principal activities both in vitro and in vivo, structures, mechanisms of action, and attempts at sequence optimization are discussed in order to highlight their potential as drug leads.


Clara Pérez-Peinado, Sira Defaus, David Andreu. Hitchhiking with Nature: Snake Venom Peptides to Fight Cancer and Superbugs. Toxins. 2020 Apr 15;12(4)

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PMID: 32326531

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