Honeybee venom found to kill some aggressive breast cancer cells, a new report finds


FILE – In this Aug. 7, 2019, file photo, the queen bee (marked in green) and worker bees move around a hive at the Veterans Affairs in Manchester, N.H. The annual survey released Monday, June 22, 2020, of U.S. beekeepers found that honeybee colonies are doing better after a bad year. Monday’s survey found winter losses were lower than normal, the second smallest in 14 years of records. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

(WJW) — There’s a new buzz in cancer research. A new Australian study found that bee venom was effective in killing certain types of breast cancer cells.

“No one had previously compared the effects of honeybee venom or melittin across all of the different subtypes of breast cancer and normal cells,” Dr. Ciara Duffy said of her study in a press release.

Duffy, who is affiliated with the University of Australia, used venom from more than 300 bumblebees and honeybees to discover certain types of breast cancer cells especially reacted to the treatment, including triple-negative and HER2-enriched breast cancer cells. She found that honeybee venom from European countries was found to be most effective.

The study found that the venom didn’t negatively effect regular cells, even while it killed cancer cells.

“We found that melittin can completely destroy cancer cell membranes within 60 minutes,” Duffy said.

Even so, more research needs to be done to figure out how best to administer the melittin. The study was published in the npj Precision Oncology journal.

Read more about the study right here.

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