HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Germany or Virtually from your home or work.

4th Edition of Euro-Global Conference on Biotechnology and Bioengineering

September 19-21 | Hybrid Event

September 19-21, 2024 | Germany
ECBB 2022

Amy L Thompson

Amy L Thompson, Speaker at Bioengineering Conferences
Austin Peay State University, United States
Title: Brown recluse spider venom holds promise in killing breast cancer cells


Brown recluse spiders, also known as Loxosceles reclusa, are endemic to the Southcentral United States.  These spiders are known for their reclusive behavior and necrotic venom.  Brown recluse bites can occasionally develop into dry wounds containing dead tissue or cause systemic symptoms.  Brown recluse venom is comprised of a mixture of enzymes including lipases, nucleases, and phosphatases, among others with sphingomyelinase D being the most studied enzyme.  Because of the nature of this necrotic venom, it can damage cell membranes and holds the potential to kill human cancer cells.  Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death behind lung cancer.  Certain types of breast cancer cells, such as MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, can be especially invasive.  MDA-MB-231 cells are triple negative meaning that they lack receptors for progesterone and estrogen and do not have the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2.  When cells in this line are exposed to brown recluse venom, they exhibit cell features that are seen in cellular death processes.  Some of these changes include condensed and fragmented DNA and cellular blebbing.  Venom induced changes also seem to impact sodium channels, which are suggested to impart some of the invasive nature of cancer cells.  These studies suggest that brown recluse venom holds promise as a biomedical agent capable of killing cancerous cells and may have therapeutic potential.                     


Dr. Amy L. Thompson is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Biology at Austin Peay State University.  She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology and her Bachelors of Science degree from Austin Peay State University in Medical Technology (Clinical Laboratory Science).  She teaches Cellular & Molecular Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Genetics, and Microbiology.  Her current research focuses on brown recluse spider venom as a potential treatment for breast cancer and the antimicrobial properties of essential oils. She has published and presented on topics related to brown recluse spider venom, medicinal properties of plants and other biological agents, using popular culture in teaching, and the CDC and WHO response to disease.  She is active in the Tennessee Academy of Science and served as the 2021 President.  She was named one of the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s 40 Under 40 and holds Board of Registry Certification in Medical Technology.