Wildlife Wednesdays: Bee Venom | weatherology°
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By: Meteorologist Megan Mulford
Updated: Oct 13th 2021

Wildlife Wednesdays: Bee Venom

Bee stings hurt and are no fun...especially people who are highly allergic to bees. Bee venom is actually beneficial and for over 3,000 years, people have sought out bee venom for its numerous health benefits! Evidence suggests that a range of bee substances can help medical conditions that lack highly effective treatments. 

Bee venom contains melittin, a peptide found in the European honey bee's venom, that have attracted scientists since the 1950s. It is now believed that there is a wide variety of benefits from melittin, including immune system regulation and anti inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties.  Labs have struggled with melittin over the past few decades because it quickly degrades in blood and is difficult to target towards a specific cell.  A pioneering breakthrough may come from chemist and bioengineer Dipanjan Pan, who is currently looking into a melittin-based cancer therapy, with his lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Pan inspected toad, scorpion, and bee venom to get answers, whos poison also includes melittin. He goes onto mention that melittin can even be created in the lab which is "optimal for drug development due to its convenience, quality control, and relative safety compared to crude natural sources." Pan's lab made headlines in 2014 after "injecting melittin into nanoparticles that can attach to cancer cells. This method may be particularly beneficial in stomping out lingering cells that resist chemotherapy, the team proposed. Pan’s latest research, which was published in 2017, revealed that peptides like melittin could work by interfering with the DNA transcription that’s associated with cancer spread," the article mentions. 


bee
For over 3,000 years, people have sought out bee venom for its numerous health benefits!
bees
It is now believed that there is a wide variety of benefits from melittin.