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Press release: Word and Image - Health

Active ingredient is only active when needed

In the saliva of an American lizard species, researchers have discovered a substance that can be used to make a drug for people with diabetes. This is reported by the pharmacy magazine "Gesundheit".

The crusty lizard "Gila-Monster" is the only poisonous lizard in North America. However, it is not the poison with which it kills its prey, but a component of its saliva, the protein exendin-4, that raises hopes among developers of diabetes drugs.

It lowers blood sugar, delays gastric emptying and inhibits appetite - a desirable side effect in the therapy of the mostly overweight type 2 diabetics.

The active ingredient also seems to delay the course of the disease: The synthetic active ingredient exenatide developed from Exendin-4 increases the number of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is the body's central hormone for sugar metabolism.

Another highlight: Exenatide only works when it is needed - when the blood sugar level is actually increased. The agent is currently being tested in clinical studies.

The pharmacy magazine "Gesundheit" 8/2003 is available in many pharmacies and is given to customers free of charge.

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last modified: 08/10/2003