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Paradoxical frog’s leap forward for diabetes

Skin secretions from South America’s Paradoxical frog could be used to treat Type 2 diabetes, according to research announced this week at Diabetes UK’s Annual Professional Conference in Glasgow.

Scientists from the University of Ulster and United Arab Emirates University have been studying the insulin-releasing capabilities of peptides found on the skin of the Pseudis paradoxa frog.

New class of drugs

The researchers found that Pseudin-2, a peptide which protects the frog from infection, stimulates insulin release. They have tested a synthetic version of the peptide and found it could be used to produce a drug that encourages the production of insulin in people with Type 2 diabetes. The treatment could be part of a new class of drugs called incretin mimetics.

Innovative research

“We welcome this innovative research that could benefit some of the two million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes," said Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

"Although it can be managed with diet and physical activity, Type 2 diabetes is progressive and may require tablets and/or insulin to control it effectively.

New treatments can help diabetes control

"Good diabetes control reduces the risk of complications including blindness, heart disease, kidney problems and amputation so new treatments are vital.”

Exciting stage of research

Dr Yasser Abdel-Wahab, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ulster, said: “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.”

Fascinating results

“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.”

The amazing shrinking frog

The amazing Paradoxical frog shrinks with age. As tadpoles the they can reach up to 27cm in length, however as frogs they are only about 4cm long.

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