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SAO PAULO (AFP) – It may be one of nature's repulsive little blood-sucking parasites, but the humble tick could yield a future cure for cancers of the skin, liver and pancreas, Brazilian researchers have discovered.
They have identified a protein in the saliva of a common South American tick, Amblyomma cajennense, that apparently reduces and can even eradicate cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
"This is a radical innovation," said Ana Marisa Chudzinski-Tavassi, the molecular biologist at the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo who is leading the research.