9 Sep 2017

Why don't poisonous frogs poison themselves?

From This Way Up, 12:55 pm on 9 September 2017
Frog Face 2

Photo: (Delfi de la Rua via unsplash.com)

This week the global pharmaceutical giant Novartis has just got USFDA approval for a new class of leukemia treatment that uses a patient's own blood cells to combat cancer.

The agent is called Kymriah and targets a blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of the leading causes of childhood cancer.

In other news, why don't poison dart frogs poison themselves?

For thousands of years, indigenous tribes in Columbia have smeared their blow darts and arrows with secretions from the poison dart frog's skin.

These secretions contain chemicals called batrachotoxins, which the animals pick up from centipedes and other insects in their diet.

Now scientists have isolated some genetic differences in these frogs that protect them from the ill effects of the poisons stored within their own body.

Dr Chris Smith of The Naked Scientists brings us the latest from the world of science news and research.