Harnessing the knowledge of animal toxins to generate drugs

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Animal toxins present high selectivity and specificity for their molecular targets, and have long been considered as prototypes for developing novel drugs, with some successful cases. In this regard, the variety of molecules found in animal venoms, which can be capable of affecting vital physiological systems, have providing the development of studies focusing on turning those molecules (toxins) into therapeutics to treat several diseases, such as chronic pain, hypertension, thrombosis, cancer, and so on. However, some important issues have been responsible for disrupting the toxin-based drug discovery projects. In this review, we have briefly highlighted the development of drugs based on animal toxins, discussing some successful cases as well as the main causes of failure, pointing out the recent strategies applied to overcome the difficulties related to the translational process in this kind of development scenario.

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