August 30, 2010

Frog Skin Fights Infection?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Ever hear of the old tale, if you kiss a frog he will turn into a prince? This old tale may turn into a truthful reality. Frog skin is proving to have more benefits than one may think.

Researchers are finding frog skin actually helps people battle infections that are antibiotic-resistant. The natural substances contained in frog skin could be a new breakthrough in antibiotics.

Researchers studied the secretions from hundreds of frog skins and found over 100 antibiotic substances in the skins of different frog species from all over the world.

"Frog skin is an excellent potential source of such antibiotic agents," Dr. Michael Conlon, a biochemist at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain, Abu Dhabi Emirate, was quoted as saying. "They've been around 300 million years, so they've had plenty of time to learn how to defend themselves against disease-causing microbes in the environment. Their own environment includes polluted waterways where strong defenses against pathogens are a must."

This is no surprise to scientists, though. They have known for quite some time now that frog skin contained a vast amount of chemicals that are capable of killing bacteria, fungi and infection. Dr. Conlon and his colleagues came up with a way to tweak frog skin's molecular structure, in turn, making it less lethal to human cells but more influential when it comes to killing germs.

"Many people are working with me, giving me samples of frog skin secretions," Dr. Conlon added. "We only actually use the frogs to get the chemical structure of the antibiotic, and then we make it in the lab. We take great care not to harm these delicate creatures, and scientists return them to the wild after swabbing their skin for the precious secretions."

Some of the substances that researchers have found could make their way into clinical trials within the next five years. "The research also is important because it underscores the importance of preserving biodiversity," Dr. Conlon concluded.

SOURCE: 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society