The banded Gila monster's saliva may help provide a new treatment for type II diabetes mellitus.
NEW TREATMENT FOR DIABETES II? A chemical in the saliva of the Gila monster Heloderma suspectum that helps digest gigantic meals may provide a new treatment for type II diabetes mellitus. The Gila monster is one of only two venomous lizards and hails from the Phoenix, Ariz., area, coincidentally the home of the Pima Indians, who have the world's highest incidence of type II diabetes." John Eng, a physician at the [Veterans Administration] Hospital in The Bronx, and his collaborators fished out peptides that they believed were part of the venom. Some of the peptides looked similar to the human hormone family that includes secretin, glucagon, and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1)," reports Andrew Young, vice president of research at Amylin Pharmaceuticals in San Diego. One peptide, exendin, had 50 percent homology with human...

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