Insulin developed from the venom of a predatory sea snail could be used to create a ‘safer and more effective’ diabetes treatment, researchers claim.
It mimics the ultra-fast-acting properties of the sea snail venom to lower blood sugar levels, without long-term side effects seen in other types of diabetes treatment.
University of Utah scientists developed what they call the world’s smallest, fully functional version of the insulin hormone from the venom.
They say the findings, based on animal studies, could jumpstart the development of insulin treatments capable of improving the lives of those with diabetes.
‘We now have the capability to create a hybrid version of insulin that works in humans and that also appears to have many of the positive attributes of cone snail insulin,’ says Danny Hung-Chieh Chou, one of the study authors.
Cone snails slither across coral reefs and as they do so they are constantly on the prowl for prey – one version of the species gives off a plume of toxic venom.
The venom of the Conus geographus snail contains a unique form of insulin.
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