Ticks are excellent bloodsuckers. In fact, researchers who have studied tick saliva have found a range of compounds that fight back host defenses like clotting and tissue repair, and allow ticks to feed for extended periods. However, those same chemical properties could be seen in a more positive light.
A research team at the Institut Pasteur de Tunis (IPT) in Tunisia says the camel tick's salivary gland extract inhibits a certain type of cancer cell as well as the formation of new blood vessels. The researchers led by IPT’s Chaima Bensaoud, Ph.D. did a study that showed that the camel tick's saliva extract reduced the cells’ ability to attach to a protein that aids in blood-vessel formation, a key step in some tumors’ process of spreading.
These results open up new possibilities for characterizing and developing new molecules involved in the key steps of tumor progression. The next thing to do is identify and test the specific compounds that carry these wanted effects. The investigations could lead to new pharmaceuticals related to immunity diseases. Read more about this intriguing possibility on Entomology Today.