Treating brain tumours with traditional Chinese medicine


Medical researchers at FAU identify scorpion venom as possible cancer treatment

Western doctors have long been sceptical of the usefulness of various methods of treatment used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, some forms of therapy from this ancient form of medicine, such as acupuncture, have now become established in western medicine. Researchers at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen at FAU have now examined a substance that is often used in traditional Chinese medicine – scorpion venom – and used it to treat particularly severe brain tumours, with surprising results.

In traditional Chinese medicine, extracts from the venom of the Chinese golden scorpion (Mesobuthus martensii) are considered particularly effective against neurological disorders such as chronic pain, paralysis, strokes and epilepsy. In collaboration with Chinese microbiologists, medical researchers at FAU have identified two new active agents extracted from this venom that can stop so-called gliomas, brain tumours that are currently very difficult to treat.

The team led by neuroscientist PD Dr. Nicolai Savaskan were able to show that the two substances, known as CA4 and CTX-23, prevent the rapid division of tumour cells and stop the formation of tumour blood vessels. ‘The two scorpion venom derivatives that we have found are a good example of how traditional Chinese medicine can enrich western medicine – and are promising treatments for our patients.’

The researchers have recently published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports (doi:10.1038/srep19799).

Further information for patients:

Phone: +49 9131 8549000

Information for the press:

PD Dr. Nicolai Savaskan
Phone: +49 9131 8534626