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Venom from honeybees has been found to rapidly kill aggressive and hard-to-treat breast cancer cells, according to potentially groundbreaking new Australian research.

The study also found when the venom’s main component was combined with existing chemotherapy drugs, it was extremely efficient at reducing tumour growth in mice.

Dr Ciara Duffy of the Perth’s Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research hopes the discovery could lead to the development of a treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, which accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of all breast cancers and for which there are currently no clinically effective targeted therapies. She said the honeybee venom had proven extremely potent.

The research showed a specific concentration of the venom killed 100 per cent of triple-negative breast cancer and HER2-enriched breast cancer cells within 60 minutes, while having minimal effects on normal cells.

“There’s a long way to go in terms of how we would deliver it in the body and, you know, looking at toxicities and maximum tolerated doses before it ever went further,” she said.

Source: ABC Australia