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The Venom Cure
Toxins found in the skin of Harlequin frogs could bring chronic pain relief.

NATURE's THE VENOM CURE reveals poisonous creatures that may one day save your life.

You know those beautiful little tropical frogs with electric blue or orange markings? A single touch of their skin could kill you.

Have you ever seen an elegant cone snail shell lying on the beach? Well, beware! It hides a poison harpoon that is deadly.

And watch out! Those snakes and lizards could be armed with venom and toxic saliva.

Amazingly, they may also hold cures to many human diseases. Scientists have discovered that natural poisons, toxins, and venoms contain chemicals that can be used to create an array of drugs for treating everything from chronic pain to cancer. For instance, the cone shell's venom, packed with nerve-debilitating conotoxins, provides the basis for a new painkiller. Contortrostatin, a component found in copperhead venom, is being used to attack breast cancer cells and to prevent cancer from spreading.

Call it the poison paradox -- or THE VENOM CURE. This week on NATURE, meet the naturalists and scientists who are researching THE VENOM CURE. It's risky, but rewarding, work.

THE VENOM CURE airs on PBS Sunday, June 24th at 8 p.m. (check local listings). Watch the preview.

View the Production Credits.

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