New Diabetes Medicine Made from Gila Monster Spit

Have you ever noticed that your friends who make out with giant poisonous lizards never have diabetes? Now we know why!

As it turns out, gila monsters, a type of large, carnivorous, poisonous lizard native to the Southern U.S. and Northern Mexico have a kind of hormone in their salivary glands called Exendin-4, which causes humans and gila monsters alike to produce extra insulin in response to a rise in blood sugar. The hormone is very similar to a human hormone called GLP-1, only it lasts longer.

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Come on in a little closer, baby. I don't bite...

The new drug, a synthetic version of...

...the Exendin-4, will be administered through injection and can be used in conjunction with other diabetes medicine. The drug also causes a decrease in appetite, further helping people with type 2 diabetes, whose usual drugs often cause weight gain.

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The drug does have one or two notable side effects...

Here's a quote from Dr. Anoop Misra (seen above), Director of the Department of Diabetes and Metabolism, Fortis Hospitals (from the India Times): "The new drug acts through GLP 1, a human hormone with multiple actions. It acts on the pancreas to increase insulin production and works on the intestine to decrease its movements, thereby decreasing glucose absorption and causing a decrease in appetite."

We're thinking of a possible tie-in at Jamba Juice? I'll have the Protein Berry shake, with the immunity boost and an extra shot of gila phlegm, please.

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I know a bunch of folks at Amylin, the company that developed this drug (Exenatide). It was approved back in '05. Maybe it was just approved - or "cumpulsorily licensed" in India this year?

I hope they don't need many gila monsters for this. There aren't a lot left.

Is that a picture of a gila on a diamondback?


Not to worry. Exendin-4 is chemically synthesized.