A team of researchers has created a new way to block the venom of the most deadly jellyfish using a powerful gene-editing tool, known as CRISPR. The team tested box jellyfish venom in human cells grown in the lab. Using CRISPR, which can make precise DNA edits, the team were able to create human cells with specific genes turned off. If they then applied the jellyfish venom to the cells, they could see which cells lived or died and determine which genes were important for keeping the cell alive.
In the end, the researchers were able to determine which human genes caused the jellyfish venom to be so deadly and which pathway the venom used to destroy cells. Using this information along with currently available drugs that block these pathways the team decided to see how those drugs work in preventing the venom from acting on human cells. According to the team leader Greg Neely, the drugs worked and amazingly blocked the venom even 15 minutes after toxins were delivered. Read the full article.