Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Platypus Venom: The Diabetes Treatment of the Future?

The native Australian mammal the platypus is quite the anomaly! For starters, it is one of the only mammals that lay eggs. Professor Frank Grutzner from the University of Adelaide and Associate Professor Briony Forbes at Flinders University, conducted research on this extraordinary mammal which yielded some exciting findings that could affect how diabetes is treated in the future.
What Professor Grutzner and Proffessor Forbes found was that glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is the hormone that stimulates the release of insulin in both humans and animals in order to lower blood glucose levels, is not only found in the guts of platypus, but in their venom, as well. The platypus use their venom for mating purposes, and the GLP-1 found in their venom is a much more stable form compared to the GLP-1 found in the guts of humans. Individuals who suffer from type II diabetes have an insufficient amount of GLP-1 circulating in order to keep blood glucose at a normal level. The researchers apart of this experimental team believe that this stable form of GLP- 1 found in the platypus can potentially be used  to treat type II diabetes in the future. Of course there will have to be further research done on this matter, but Professor Grutzner and Professor Forbes believe that their findings are a step in the right direction to finding a new treatment for this disease that effects nearly 30% of the American population.

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