Award Recipient’s Research on Gila Monster Led to Diabetic Drug

It has just been announced that Dr. John Eng will receive the next Golden Goose Award. Dr. Eng’s research on the Gila Monster’s poisonous venom at the Department of Veterans Affairs led to a drug that protects millions of diabetics from such complications as blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage.

In 1992, Dr. Eng discovered a compound that he named “Exendin-4.” According to the press release, the compound stimulates insulin-producing cells in the pancreas to produce more insulin when glucose levels are high. The compound keeps the body’s blood sugar levels at a steady, normal level while minimizing, compared to an insulin shot, the risk of levels going too low. In 2005 the FDA approved the drug called “Byetta,” developed as a result of his federally-funded research.

The Golden Goose Award “was created in 2012 to celebrate researchers whose seemingly odd or obscure federally funded research turned out to have a significant, positive impact on society.” Dr. Eng will receive the award at the second annual Golden Goose Awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

Click here for the entire press release.

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