The venom of a semi-aquatic mammal called Platypus is likely to be used for treating type-2 diabetes in humans. Platypus uses insulin as a weapon against its enemies.
A study carried out by researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, found that the blood sugar regulating hormone secreted in the gut of a platypus is also generated in the venom.
"This is an amazing example of how millions of years of evolution can shape molecules and optimise their function," co-lead author of the study professor Frank Grutzner from the University of Adelaide's School of Biological Sciences and the Robinson Research Institute stated in a press release.
"These findings have the potential to inform diabetes treatment, one of our greatest health challenges, although exactly how we can convert this finding into a treatment will need to be the subject of future research," Grutzner added.
The secretion of insulin is triggered by a hormone called 'glucagon-like peptide-1' (GLP-1). Insulin is produced in the gut of both humans as well as animals and degrades in a few minutes.
Type 2 diabetics suffer from the lack of simulation by GLP-1 hormone, leading to lower levels of insulin production, which results in high blood sugar levels. For this diabetics take drugs, which aid in production of longer lasting hormones that can expand insulin secretion.
The GLP-1 hormone is secreted in the gut as well as the venom of platypus, but the one produced in the venom was found to be longer lasting and stable in comparison to the hormone produced in its gut.
Researchers are examining the GLP-1 present in the venom of the mammal, as it has the potential to be a breakthrough cure for type 2 diabetes. The researchers are still figuring out how to transform their findings into possible commercial cures for type 2 diabetes.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.