The Deathstalker scorpion is about the size of your palm. It’s yellow and surly, its venom a seething cocktail of neurotoxins.
And somewhere in that poison soup is a very special little molecule, called chlorotoxin, designed to penetrate a prey animal’s brain. That effect happens to come in very handy: while it’s in there, it sticks to cancer cells while slipping right by healthy ones.
Jim Olson, a pediatric oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital and a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, put that toxin to work.