London, March 3 : A nocturnal frog that dwells in the ponds and lagoons of the Amazon may prove to be a saviour for millions of diabetics some day.
The new hope results from the finding that the body of the South American "paradoxical frog" (Pseudis paradoxa) produces an anti-infection substance that can stimulate the release of insulin, the vital hormone that is deficient in sufferers from diabetes.
Research collaborators from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and United Arab Emirates University say that they have made an artificial copy of the peptide pseudin-2, which they believe may be used to boost insulin production in people with Type 2 diabetes.
The researchers say that the paradoxical frog's peptide was found to increase the release of insulin in cultured cells by 50 per cent in laboratory tests.
They believe that a synthetic version of pseudin-2 could join a new class of medicines called incretin mimetics, which help diabetics control their condition when dietary changes or other medicines have failed.
"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," Times Online quoted Yasser Abdel-Wahab, senior lecturer in biomedical sciences at the University of Ulster, as saying.
The researchers, however, concede that further research is required before the therapy is ready to be tested on human patients.
"More research is needed, but there is a growing body of work around natural anti-diabetic drug discovery that is already yielding fascinating results," Abdel-Wahab said.
Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: "We welcome this innovative research that could benefit some of the two million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes.
He added: "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. Good diabetes control reduces the risk of complications including blindness, heart disease, kidney problems and amputation, so new treatments are vital."
Further details of the research will be presented at the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in Glasgow.