Friday, 11 June 2010

Lizard spit

There's a treatment for Type 2 diabetes called exenatide, marketed under the name of Byetta. This drug has a remarkable history, as it is actually a synthetic form of a hormone found in the saliva of the Gila Monster lizard - hence the affectionate moniker 'lizard spit'! It works a bit like glucagon, which is a hormone that helps regulate insulin in non-diabetics, hence its use as a diabetes treatment. It also appears to have the additional benefit of helping people to lose weight, rather than gain it (which can be a consequence of insulin treatment). All very interesting and useful, but I just like the idea that people around the world are injecting lizard spit to help combat diabetes!

A woman whose doctor once let her
Start taking a course of Byetta,
Began to lose weight,
Saw her levels abate,
And soon felt considerably better!

A woman whose dress didn't fit
Was advised to inject lizard spit.
'I'll have some of that please,
For I have diabetes,
And my last pair of knickers just split!'

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