Having Studied Venom from Gila Monsters, Medical Researchers at Optimum Clinical Research Seek Patients to Help Discover the Next Generation of Medications

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Patients are needed for studies under way in Salt Lake City that are exploring new ways to treat diabetes, emphysema and cardiovascular disease.


Researchers at Optimum Clinical Research studied venom from the poisonous Gila monster to discover a new way for diabetes sufferers to control their insulin production. Photo courtesy of the Southwestern Center For Herpetological Research

In order to make the next advancement in medical technology, we need volunteers to come in and see if it works for them. This may be an opportunity to receive treatment that is not yet available to everyone else.

As medical researchers at Salt Lake City-based Optimum Clinical Research look for treatments for significant human ailments like heart disease and diabetes, they are also eyeing the natural world for the next pharmaceutical breakthroughs.

Among the unusual drugs they have researched was a medication that used a form of venom from the deadly Gila monster to control insulin production. Though patients are no longer needed for that study, Optimum Clinical Research Recruitment Coordinator Jared Shields said qualified participants are always being sought for the next wave of important drug research.

“In order to make the next advancement in medical technology, we need volunteers to come in and see if it works for them,” Shields said. “This may be an opportunity to receive treatment that is not yet available to everyone else.”

Optimum Clinical Research currently has opportunities for those with diabetes, emphysema and cardiovascular disease to participate in influential drug studies.

“We’re now discovering that the most bizarre origins of new medications, we may be carrying inside of us,” Shields said. “But until we’ve found people who are interested in trailblazing and opening new frontiers, all those new medications will remain out of reach.”

Past studies at Optimum Clinical Research have delved into important topics like stem cells, arthritis and high cholesterol. But qualified study participants are needed for researchers to discover new groundbreaking medications.

“In the end all we see is a little colored tablet,” Shields said. “We don’t know where that medication came from.”

Commenting about the study involving Gila monster venom, Shields said, “It just became really interesting how the medication was discovered.”

“Somehow they realized it and now it’s helping people control their diabetes and lose weight,” he said.

Throughout history human beings have discovered medications in the oddest of locations, Shields explained.

“But these drugs are usually found through exhaustive experimentation rather than a stroke of luck,” he said.

Shields shared three other creepy crawly examples:

  •     Cone shell snail -- Poison from the cone shell snail helped produce a powerful, non-addictive painkiller called Prialt. When pumped into fluid around a person’s spine, the venom is said to be about 1,000 times more powerful than morphine.
  •     Scorpion – Venom from dangerous scorpions was found to be effective at battling some types of brain cancer. Because the cancerous cells are similar to those in the muscles of cockroaches, scientists discovered that when unleashed on malignant cells, poison from scorpions, which prey on cockroaches, destroyed cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
  •     Jararaca viper – A synthetic form of the venom from this deadly snake has been proven effective at helping reduce blood pressure. The venom helps control high blood pressure by preventing muscles from constricting around blood vessels.

To learn more about research currently under way at Optimum Clinical Research call 801-363-7353 or visit http://ocresearch.com/.

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