Researchers Find Honeybee Venom Kills Some Breast Cancer Cells

Australian scientists say the venom from honeybees has been found to destroy aggressive breast cancer cells in a lab setting. The venom - and a compound in it called melittin - were used against two cancer types which are hard to treat: triple-negative and HER2-enriched. While there are thousands of chemical compounds which can fight cancer cells in a lab setting, scientists say there are few which can be produced as treatment for humans. A study by the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Western Australia tested venom from over 300 honeybees and bumblebees and found the venom from honeybees kills cancer cells within an hour, with minimal harm to other cells. While melittin naturally occurs in honeybee venom, it can also be synthetically produced. Researchers, however, warn that more testing is needed to see if the venom could actually work on a scale as a cancer-fighting drug.