Toxic healers

Gila monster.
Gila monster.ST FILE PHOTO
Platypus.
Platypus.PHOTO: GERRY PEARCE/AUSTRALIAN-WILDLIFE.COM
Brazilian Lancehead.
Brazilian Lancehead.PHOTO: GREG HUME POLYBIA
Polybia Paulista.
Polybia Paulista.PHOTO: MARIO PALMA/SAO PAULO STATE UNIVERSITY

GILA MONSTER

  • The saliva contains a toxin that helps diabetics control glucose and lose weight.
  • It was turned into an anti-diabetes drug in 2005.

PLATYPUS

  • The ancient, patchworked platypus is a relatively unchanged animal from which researchers are learning about mammalian gene regulation and immune systems.
  • Glucagon-lie-peptide-1 from the male platypus is a promising lead candidate for better diabetes treatment.

BRAZILIAN LANCEHEAD

  • One of several pit vipers whose venom is a powerful blood coagulant.
  • Scientists have combined a derivative of the venom with injectable hydrogels to create a material that can quickly stop bleeding and protect wounds.

POLYBIA  PAULISTA

  • This Brazilian social wasp protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'Toxic healers'. Print Edition | Subscribe