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A team led by University of Arizona researchers has discovered a possible way to reduce the damage caused by the bite of the brown recluse spider.

The study looks into how brown spiders' venom affects humans.

The venom contains a rare protein that alters the molecular structure of the tissue it comes in contact with, said Matt Cordes, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the UA, and the study's lead researcher.

"(This contact) can cause all kinds of trouble for reasons that are still not fully understood," Cordes said. "Sometimes, it can disrupt membranes, or signal cells to undergo programmed cell-death."

He said the brown recluse's venom contains a complex cocktail of chemicals and compounds. The current study will provide other researchers with more information on those components.

"...If we know how ... how (the venom) reshapes the molecules, it may be possible to design things to inhibit that process ... and block it," Cordes said.

New findings are particularly important to Arizona, since it is the state with the most variants of the brown spider in the U.S., Cordes explained.