Editor's Note: This is the second installment of a two-part series. Learn how scorpion vemon led local researchers to the brink of discovery of a new class of drugs in Part 1.
Consider the chemical elegance of a potato. Or a petunia. Or a horseshoe crab.
Somewhere in each of those organisms is a special little protein uniquely equipped to do what medicines do: barge in on biological processes and mess with them. With a little tweaking, it’s possible they could be trained to, say, keep cancer cells from spreading.
A few years ago, Dr. Jim Olson and his team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center had figured out how to make those proteins by the thousands, but they hadn’t yet figured out how to pay for it.