Frogs matter. They’re the canaries in the coal mine. And their skin is a medical marvel, possessing secrets that can lead to new drugs. Here’s excerpts from a story from BBC yesterday:

Skin secretions from a South American “shrinking” frog could be used to treat type 2 diabetes, researchers say. A compound isolated from the frog, which grows to 27cm as a tadpole before shrinking to 4cm in adulthood, stimulates insulin release. A synthetic version of the compound – pseudin-2 – could be used to produce new drugs, delegates at the Diabetes UK annual conference heard. Around two million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes. The condition, which is often associated with being overweight, develops because the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly. It means people cannot regulate their blood glucose levels properly.

Scientists from the University of Ulster and United Arab Emirates University have tested a synthetic version of pseudin-2, a compound which protects the paradoxical frog from infection…The synthetic version was better at stimulating insulin than the natural compound, opening the way for it potential development as a drug for treating diabetes.

Study leader Dr Yasser Abdel-Wahab, senior lecturer in biomedical sciences at the University of Ulster, said there had been a lot of research into bioactive molecules from amphibian skin secretions. One recently developed diabetes drug – exenatide – was developed from a hormone in the saliva of the Gila monster – a lizard found in south-western United States and northern Mexico.

Story from BBC NEWS: