Background: Venoms, the secretions of venomous animals, are conventionally thought
to be the source of toxic substances though the views about venoms in the recent era have been
changed. Venoms are the proven source of many biologically and pharmacologically important
useful molecules. Bioactive components present in different venoms are mainly proteins and peptides
either enzymatic or non-enzymatic which have tremendous therapeutic potential and are being
used for the treatment of variety of diseases including cancer. Many venom proteins and peptides
have been reported as potential anticancer agents.
Conclusion: Venom proteins kill cancer cells through a variety of mechanisms which induce apoptosis
and ultimately lead to cell death. Therefore, the understanding regarding sources and classification
of venoms, biological role of venomous proteins, their anticancer potential and mechanisms
to suppress/kill cancer cells needs to be addressed. The present review is an attempt to highlight the
reported work and develop strategies to answer the key questions regarding the use of venomous
proteins as therapeutic agents.
Keywords: Venoms, Snake venom, scorpion venom, bee venom, toxins, biological role of venoms, anticancer.
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