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 Spider venom research could transform heart attack and heart transplant treatments

Scientists at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute are developing a drug that has shown potential to stop damage to hearts after a heart attack. Remarkably, the drug is derived from the venom of a funnel web spider! 

How can funnel web venom be used to treat heart damage?

Though the funnel web spider’s venom is deadly to humans, scientists have found that a molecule within the venom, known as Hi1A, in fact holds incredible properties that can potentially protect the heart after a heart attack.

What makes the spider venom deadly by paralysing the victim, has been found to ‘paralyse’ the damage caused to the heart.

It is hoped this drug could be administered as a heart attack treatment by paramedics and emergency responders. This would be a world first treatment and could help the 56,000 Australians who suffer a heart attack each year. 

Similarly, the drug could be used to preserve a donor heart ahead of transplantation. This would potentially improve the quality and number of donor hearts available by up to 30%.

How can you help?

Professor Peter Macdonald and Professor Bob Graham are investigating not one, but two world first treatments for heart attack and heart transplant patients using a protein known as Hi1a derived from funnel web spider venom.

Human clinical trials could be achieved by the end of 2023. But we need to raise at least $303,000 by 30th June to help make this possible.

By making a tax-deductible donation today, you can help researchers unlock the potential of spider venom.


Donations $2 and over are tax deductible. The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute has an interest in the trust company which holds the licence to develop the patents in relation to the discovery, having worked in collaboration with scientists at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal of the Eora nation, on which we meet, work, and discover.
Our Western Australian laboratories pay their respect to the Whadjuk Noongar who remain as the spiritual and cultural custodians of their land.