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Discovery & Development

Wasps Versus Cancer

Researchers have known for some time that Polybia paulista wasp venom contains an ingredient that selectively kills some cancer cells, but the big mystery is how exactly the agent works. Motivated to investigate the venom further, Paul Beales, a senior research fellow at the University of Leeds, and João Ruggiero Neto, a professor of physics at São Paulo State University, Brazil, believe they have uncovered a molecule with a mechanism of action that is distinct to any current anticancer drug (1). We spoke to Beales to learn more about the science behind the sting.

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