The treatment of diabetes could be about to take a leap forward with the help of a south American frog. A compound found on the skin of the paradoxical frog-so called because the tadpole is much larger than the adult-boosts the production of insulin.
Scientists have made a synthetic version of the compound they hope will turn into pill to treat Britain’s two million sufferers of type 2 diabetes.
A compound found on the skin of the paradoxical frog boosts the production of insulin. The most common form of diabetes, it usually occurs after the age of 40. Sufferers do not make enough insulin, a hormone key in converting sugar into energy, or make insulin that doesn’t work properly.
Blood sugar levels are initially kept in check through a tightly controlled diet and exercise regime. But worsening of the condition over time means most suffers will need tablets or insulin injections as they get older. With not all tablets suiting everyone, the paradoxical frog-found in ponds, lakes and lagoons in the Amazon and Trinidad-could provide an alternative. Study of the frog at Ulster university has revealed that the skin that boosts the insulin production. Tests show a synthetic version of the compound, known as pseudin-2, can greatly increase the amount of insulin made. Researcher Dr Yasser Abdelwahab,who will present his findings at a diabetes conference in Glasgow, said “ now we needed but there is a growing body of work around natural anti-diabetic drug discovery that is already yielding fascinating results.
Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes uk,said, good diabetes control reduces the risk of complications including blindness, heart disease, kidney problems and amputation, so new treatments are vital.
The drug, which is still many years away from the market, is likely only to benefit sufferers of type 2 diabetes. In type 1,or childhood diabetes, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are likely to be too damaged for pseudin-2 to be effective.
Also known as the shrinking frog, the paradoxical frog gets its name because of the contrast between the tadpole and adult frog. While the tadpole can be up to 10 inches long, the adult frog is around two inches long.
Drinking black tea could also help combat type 2 diabetes, say scientists at Dundee University. They found that components of black tea known as the aflavins and the arubigins mimic the action of insulin. But Dr Graham Rena, whose research is reported in the journal Aging cell, said : “People shouldn’t be rushing to drink masses of black tea thinking it will cure them Diabetes. We are still on the way from this leading to new treatments, until the final result is made known, keep posted and pray it will never take long. John njikanma