Nanobees 101

This is just the coolest thing…

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

No…not this guy getting stung, but what’s being learned about bee venom. If you already know about Melittin & Nanobees skip this blog & go for a lovely walk, but if you don’t, prepare to “bee” astounded! Start with the word cancer. Most people hate the word, fear it’s diagnosis, & know at least one person who has been affected by it. While I was channel surfing the other night I stumbled upon the NOVA show “How to Make Things Small”. ( ) It discussed one possible unique solution for cancer being pursued from an unlikely source – our sweet friends, honeybees. DSCN1543 Here’s what we know…

  • One of the reasons bee stings hurt is because of a chemical in the venom called melittin.
  • It’s powerful stuff that can kill most kinds of cells.
  • You couldn’t use melittin to kill cancer cells in the past because it would kill all the other cells around it.
  • Researchers in the field of nonotechnology have discovered a way to encapsulate the melittin by surrounding it with a substance that does not harm non-cancer cells.
  • These capsules of melittin are being call “nanobees”.
  • The nanobees can be injected.
  • They detect cancer cells, attach themselves, & release the melittin which in turn kills the cancer cells.
photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

Like magic, it certainly seems simple, but it’s not. The entire field of nanotechnology is like something out of a very cool science fiction story. Nanobees have only been used on mice so far, but with positive results. Some research is being done at the University of Washington in St Louis. (

Here’s what we don’t know…

Will it work on humans?

I got hooked on the NOVA show because of the bees (see What’s the Buzz?- 5/8/2013 or Sweet Ideas- 6/5/2013) but you have to admit whether you like bees or not this is fascinating stuff. Imagine the cure for cancer coming from something as simple as the honeybee. And if it works for cancer, what else could it apply to? It might just “bee” the perfect blend of Mother Nature & human ingenuity.

Me…I’m off to look for some bees to thank!!!

Picture 001P.S. New books on the list from your suggestions next time!

About Diane

a long time lover of all things aquatic...swimming, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling...if it involves water...I'm in. Add traveling, snowshoeing in the winter, gardening in the spring, & lots of fresh air & sunshine. Blend with cooking, crafting, great friends & my Border Collie Zack. Toss in some sweet beekeeping. Mix in a couple of great books, my camera, clean notebook paper, & a cool pen & you pretty much have a picture of me. My friends tell me I should also add..."once a teacher...always a teacher".
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