Frog secretions offer diabetes treatment hope

Secretions from the skin of a South American frog Pseudis paradoxa could provide a new treatment for diabetes, says a University of Ulster scientist. Researchers found that it stimulates the release of insulin, the vital hormone which is deficient in diabetes sufferers.

Researchers made an artificial copy of the peptide, or protein building block, and showed that it could be used to boost insulin production in people with Type 2 diabetes. They believe it could provide a new diabetes drug treatment, part of a new class of medicines called incretin mimetics which mimic natural substances. However more work must be carried out before the frog therapy is ready to be tested on human patients.

The work is being carried out by researchers at the University of Ulster and United Arab Emirates University.

Dr Yasser Abdel-Wahab, senior lecturer in biomedical sciences at the University of Ulster, says: “We are at an exciting stage with this research. We have tested a more potent synthetic version of the pseudin-2 peptide and have found that it has the potential for development into a compound for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Now we need to take this a step further and put our work into practice to try and help people with Type 2 diabetes. More research is needed, but there is a growing body of work around natural anti-diabetic drug discovery that, as you can see, is already yielding fascinating results.”

Insulin is essential for controlling the way the body fuels itself with sugar. Normally insulin is produced by cells in the pancreas in the right amounts needed to regulate blood sugar levels. But in Type 2 diabetes either not enough is produced, or the body becomes resistant to the concentrations that are available.

The frog research was presented at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in Glasgow.

Source: University of Ulster, UK

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