Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Frog Venom Could Be Vital Weapon In Combatting Cancer And Heart Disease

Date:
September 21, 2001
Source:
University Of Ulster
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Ulster have uncovered a vital weapon in the fight against killer conditions like cancer and heart disease – frog venom.

Researchers at the University of Ulster have uncovered a vital weapon in the fight against killer conditions like cancer and heart disease – frog venom.

The team, headed by Professor Chris Shaw, has discovered that molecules called peptides, secreted by rain forest frogs to ward off predators, have the potential to:

* Dramatically reduce high blood pressure.

* Stop blood clotting, an effective tool in the fight against Deep Vein Thrombosis and heart disease.

* Tackle conditions that are resistant to treatment by conventional antibiotics.

* Make crops resistant to insect attack.

* Help tackle cancer tumours and leukaemia and protect bone marrow against damage during chemotherapy.

Professor Shaw from the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University’s Coleraine campus said: "Biological warfare has been going on in the rain forest for millions of years as each organism living there has fought for its survival. I believe that we can put that biological weaponry to use for the good of humankind in the ultimate defeat of those diseases which have thus far remained intractable".

The University of Ulster researchers have been investigating the medical properties of rain forest frog venom for several years. They use very mild electrical stimulation to encourage the frogs to secrete their venom which is then broken down into its component parts in the hi-tech laboratory.

After screening the venom the researchers are then able to explore its medical potential.

Peptides obtained from the Giant Mexican Leaf Frog have been found to reduce blood pressure by 50% when administered in very low doses under laboratory conditions. This unlocks the potential for new drugs to help people suffering from high blood pressure.

The same frog also produces a peptide which stops blood from clotting, opening the way for new treatments for Deep Vein Thrombosis - the so-called ‘economy class syndrome’ recently highlighted when passengers on long haul aircraft flights suffered lethal blood clots – and heart disease.

The African Running Frog produces a venom which paralyses giant insects which prey on it. Peptides from the venom could be incorporated into food crops or crops like cotton to prevent insect attack without the use of pesticides.

A Tree Frog from Australia has peptides which are effective in tackling conditions which are resistant to conventional anti-biotics, an increasingly alarming problem in medicine. The peptides work in a novel way embedding themselves in the membrane of the bacteria and effectively bursting the cell. Bacteria cannot become resistant to them.

Molecules from a North American Pond Frog are similar to messenger molecules in the human body which are known to stimulate or inhibit the growth of cancer tumours. This could lead to the development of treatments for tackling tumours. Other potential uses are in the fight against leukaemia and reducing the damage to bone marrow from chemotherapy treatment.

Professor Shaw said: "This could be a giant leap forward for medicine. We can use the biological weaponry evolved in the frog’s venom to fight against cancer, heart disease and neuro-degenerative diseases. I believe the cure for these exist in the rain forest in the molecules that have evolved over millions of years."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Ulster. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Ulster. "Frog Venom Could Be Vital Weapon In Combatting Cancer And Heart Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010920072741.htm>.
University Of Ulster. (2001, September 21). Frog Venom Could Be Vital Weapon In Combatting Cancer And Heart Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010920072741.htm
University Of Ulster. "Frog Venom Could Be Vital Weapon In Combatting Cancer And Heart Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010920072741.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins