Lazy lizard source of diabetes drug:
The peculiar eating habits of a North American lizard have led to a new drug designed to help people suffering with Type 2 diabetes. Since the lazy lizard, known as the Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum), spends most of its time doing very little in an underground burrow, it developed a biochemical system for controlling the storage and release of energy. The key to the system is a compound called exendin-4, a hormone found in the lizard's saliva. It slows the creature's digestion, enabling it to get by on just 3 or 4 meals a year. In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug exenatide (marketed as Byetta®) for the management of type 2 diabetes. It is a synthetic version of a protein, exendin-4, derived from the Gila monster's saliva, manufactured and marketed by the international drug giant Eli Lilly.