UA experts working on treatment for quicker relief from snake bi - Tucson News Now

UA experts working on treatment for quicker relief from snake bites

Dr. Vance Nielsen is working on a treatment that would delay the dangerous results of a snakebite. (Source: Tucson News Now) Dr. Vance Nielsen is working on a treatment that would delay the dangerous results of a snakebite. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Every year, as many as 8,000 people are bitten by a venomous snake in the U.S.

But now, researchers at the University of Arizona are developing a new treatment to slow the spread of venom in the body to help people buy time until medical help arrives.

“It’s an absolutely life-threatening condition. It can be sometimes, best case scenario, you’re losing a limb,” said Capt. Brian Keeley of the Northwest Fire District.

Once a person is bit by a rattlesnake, the venom spreads rapidly through the body.

The poison destroys tissue, causing limbs to swell.

Keeley said many remedies thought to stop the spread simply don’t work.

“The tourniquet is a no go. The ice is a no go and sucking out the venom is a no go,” Keeley said.

Dr. Vance Nielsen and Dr. Leslie Boyer of the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine have partnered to come up with a way to delay the dangerous results of a rattlesnake bite - which is the destruction of fibrinogen, an essential protein that enables blood to clot.

Loss of it increases the risk of bleeding within the body.

“It’ll prevent the venom that’s already escaped from the bite from damaging your blood stream’s protein further,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen envisions the medicine being in the form of a patch that the victim could put on the bite, or something similar to an EpiPen, which could be injected into the muscle.

After the bite is treated, the victim would still need to rush to a hospital where doctors would administer anti-venom, which is the cure.  

Nielsen said the impact of this new medicine could reach around the world.

“In the third world, in India, you’re a three-day walk from the hospital, but even here if you’re an hour or two from the hospital, you’re out hiking and there’s no accessibility, it’ll make a difference,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said being on the forefront of this new medicine is both exciting and rewarding.

“If we can come up with something that actually makes a difference for clinical care, that’s very gratifying," he said.

This treatment is still in the very early stages of development.

Next, doctors plan to test it on animals, like rabbits, because the way their blood clots very similarly to that of humans.

Eventually, Nielsen and Boyer would like to have this available over the counter in all pharmacies.

Tucson News Now Intern Clarisse Markarian contributed to this report.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved. 

  • HealthHealthMore>>

  • Trump thrusts abortion fight into crucial midterm elections

    Trump thrusts abortion fight into crucial midterm elections

    Friday, May 18 2018 12:40 AM EDT2018-05-18 04:40:58 GMT
    Sunday, May 20 2018 9:11 AM EDT2018-05-20 13:11:44 GMT
    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File). FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks to participants of the annual March for Life event, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The Trump administration will resurrec...(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File). FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks to participants of the annual March for Life event, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The Trump administration will resurrec...

    The Trump administration is resurrecting a Reagan-era rule that would ban federally funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with women, or sharing space with abortion providers.

    The Trump administration is resurrecting a Reagan-era rule that would ban federally funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with women, or sharing space with abortion providers.

  • KOLD INVESTIGATES: With government's blessing, Big Pharma polices opioid regulation

    KOLD INVESTIGATES: With government's blessing, Big Pharma polices opioid regulation

    Friday, May 18 2018 12:45 AM EDT2018-05-18 04:45:09 GMT
    Dina DeMarest, 42, was prescribed Subsys for pain from a minor surgery. Subsys is 100 times stronger than morphine. (Source: Raycom News Network)Dina DeMarest, 42, was prescribed Subsys for pain from a minor surgery. Subsys is 100 times stronger than morphine. (Source: Raycom News Network)

    A KOLD News 13 investigation found that lax oversight by the FDA and McKesson Corp., has allowed rampant exploitation of a national prescription drug program.

    A KOLD News 13 investigation found that lax oversight by the FDA and McKesson Corp., has allowed rampant exploitation of a national prescription drug program.

  • Drexel Heights Fire District offers babysitter training classes

    Drexel Heights Fire District offers babysitter training classes

    Thursday, May 17 2018 9:54 PM EDT2018-05-18 01:54:08 GMT
    Babysitting training classes (Source: Drexel Heights Fire District)Babysitting training classes (Source: Drexel Heights Fire District)
    Babysitting training classes (Source: Drexel Heights Fire District)Babysitting training classes (Source: Drexel Heights Fire District)

    For the last 14 years, the Drexel Heights Fire District has been holding babysitting training classes and 2018 will be no different.  

    For the last 14 years, the Drexel Heights Fire District has been holding babysitting training classes and 2018 will be no different.  

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Doctor sentenced for poisoning girlfriend who lost baby

    Doctor sentenced for poisoning girlfriend who lost baby

    Sunday, May 20 2018 3:59 AM EDT2018-05-20 07:59:32 GMT
    Sunday, May 20 2018 3:59 AM EDT2018-05-20 07:59:32 GMT
    The man no longer has his medical license, and he could be deported to his birthplace of Pakistan. (Source: WJLA/Brooke Fiske/CNN)The man no longer has his medical license, and he could be deported to his birthplace of Pakistan. (Source: WJLA/Brooke Fiske/CNN)

    The man no longer has his medical license, and he could be deported to his birthplace of Pakistan.

    The man no longer has his medical license, and he could be deported to his birthplace of Pakistan.

  • Mother has message for son after he's arrested for stealing car

    Mother has message for son after he's arrested for stealing car

    Saturday, May 19 2018 8:49 AM EDT2018-05-19 12:49:30 GMT
    Evelyn Thompson (Source: WMC Action News 5)Evelyn Thompson (Source: WMC Action News 5)

    A police chase in Memphis ended with two suspected car thieves in police custody, and one angry mother with a message for her son behind bars. 

    A police chase in Memphis ended with two suspected car thieves in police custody, and one angry mother with a message for her son behind bars. 

  • Scam Alert: 'Royal Name Game' could cost you royally

    Scam Alert: 'Royal Name Game' could cost you royally

    Saturday, May 19 2018 11:32 PM EDT2018-05-20 03:32:48 GMT
    (file)(file)

    The Royal Wedding on Saturday has created a lot of social media buzz but one ‘game’ could cost you if you participated.

    The Royal Wedding on Saturday has created a lot of social media buzz but one ‘game’ could cost you if you participated.

Powered by Frankly