Gila Monster Lizard

Nature is a rich source of medicine – if we can protect it

The Pacific yew tree and the Gila monster have something in common: both species have been the source of drugs which have saved lives. The Pacific yew tree gave us Paclitaxel, a cancer treatment. Exenatide is a synthetic version of a compound discovered in Gila monster saliva. It is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It has been estimated that one important drug is lost every two years because of our failure to protect the diversity of the natural world.

Key Takeaways:

  • The few tree and the Gila Monster are both natural sources of medical components useful to humans.
  • The Pacific conifer, known more commonly as the yew, is the source of the drug, Paclitaxal.
  • Paclitaxal has been studied extensively is a widely accepted treatment for an array of cancers.

“They’ve both given us drugs that have saved and improved the lives of millions of people.”

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