New research shows that venom from bees, snakes and scorpions could potentially be used to fight certain forms of cancer. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that if they isolated specific proteins in the venom, these could be used in a safe way to block tumor growth. The researchers have safely used venom toxins in tiny nanometer-sized particles to treat breast cancer and melanoma cells in the laboratory. The venom particles, which are camouflaged from the immune system, take the toxin directly to the cancer cells, sparing normal tissue. Previous studies have shown the potential power of venom, but because of the potentially very dangerous side effects of venom injection, primarily damage to nerve cells, the use of venom couldn’t be properly applied. The toxins in question are peptide toxins. The researchers made a synthetic version in the lab, then injected it into the tiny nanoparticles. The peptide toxins developed are so tightly packed within the nanoparticle that they don’t leach out when exposed to the bloodstream, which could cause side effects, according to researchers.