The Giant Fire-bellied Toad has properties which may have potential to be used as a drug to promote growth of blood vessels and perhaps heal the damage of diabetic complications such as strokes and heart conditions. The discovery was made by researchers from Queen’s University, Belfast.
The idea of a frog being used as a treatment may sound reminiscent of a plague remedy at first sight. Frogs have long been known for having anti-bacterial properties but the news that they could control blood vessel growth is a new breakthrough. The toad, which is native to China and Vietnam, is able to secrete proteins which have angiogenetic properties – meaning they can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels .
Professor Chris Shaw, who lead the study, commented: “This has the potential to treat conditions that require blood vessels to repair quickly, such as wound healing, organ transplants, diabetic ulcers and damage caused by strokes or heart conditions .”
If the finding could help to repair stroke and heart damage, it also raises questions about which other organs could be repaired –with the kidneys and retina being of particular concern for people with diabetes.

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