Bees Are Busy Doing It Too - Melittin and Melanoma

While it only encompasses one percent of all skin cancers, malignant melanoma is the deadliest,1 and also happens to have a resistance to chemotherapy. Nonetheless, there may be a promising treatment from an unlikely source: bee venom.  The major bioactive component in bee venom is Melittin, a 23-residue peptide with a hydrophobic N-terminus along with a basic and hydrophilic C-terminus.  Researchers have recently pitted Melittin against bee venom to test their anti-melanoma properties.

Although both Melittin and bee venom showed increased apoptosis of tumor cells, Melittin clearly was the most active. These substances induced apoptosis via cleaved caspase-3 and -9 upregulation, and also through downregulation of several signaling pathways.  Not only does Melittin appear effective in the treatment of melanoma, it has also shown antitumor effects in other cancers, such as breast, cervical, ovarian, bladder, liver, and more. However, overcoming non-specific toxicity will be an eventual hurdle for Melittin.2 That being said, it is exciting to see new, promising research emerge for a deadly cancer.


  2. H.N. Lim et al., Molecules, 24(5), 929 (2019).

Further reading on Melittin:

X. Yu, et al. (2019). Immune modulation of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells by melittin nanoparticles suppresses liver metastasis. Nature Communications, 10(574), 1-13.

M. Jo, et al. (2012). Anti-cancer effect of bee venom toxin and melittin in ovarian cancer cells through induction of death receptors and inhibition of JAK2/STAT3 pathway. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol., 258(1), 72-81.

Read more about bee venom peptides in our previous content:

A Product Spotlight that includes a list of some of our bee venom peptides: What's the Buzz About Bee Venom Peptides?

Apamin is covered in our previous PepTalk, ...Stings Like a Bee.

Interested in purchasing melittin?  We have recently introduced this new product.

Industry News , Biologically Active Peptides , Cancer

Denise Karounos

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Denise Karounos joined Peptides International in October 2016. After completing her BS in chemistry from West Virginia University, she spent time as an organic chemist at Bachem Bioscience synthesizing peptides and amino acid derivatives. Denise has experience with both solid and solution-phase peptide synthesis, and has worked under both research and cGMP settings. After completing her MBA from Saint Joseph’s University, Denise transitioned into product management of peptides and amino acid derivatives. In her marketing role, she had many duties including but not limited to product management, market research, creating and producing marketing materials, handling US catalog distribution and customer database, email marketing, quoting and inside sales, sales calls, and coordinating and attending trade conferences. 

At PI, Denise's duties encompass both sales and marketing, bringing to bear her extensive lab and sales support experience. Contact her today and see how Denise can assist you with your peptide research project.