Gila Monsters & Diabetes Medication
Gila Monsters are amazing creatures, and rank among the top animals that inspired scientists to do something amazing. We mostly know them for being one of only two lizard species that produce venom. When studying their venom in the mid-1990s, Endocrinologist Dr. John Eng from the Solomon A. Berson Research Laboratory found that Gila monsters create an incredible hormone. The creatures can stop tissues in their gut, glands, & pancreas from being active in order to save energy. Yet they use the hormone that Dr. Eng calls Exendin-4 to start them back up again. This venom assists humans in doing the same, literally increasing the production of insulin when blood sugar is high. The FDA approved the drug Byetta Injection in 2005 (which uses Exendin-4) and now thousands of diabetics are alive today because of it!