SYDNEY, Australia A peptide taken from the skin of a species of Australian tree frog has been found to have a strong effect on the cells of certain types of leukemia and solid tumors.

The peptide, an antibiotic and part of the frog¿s natural defense mechanism, was removed by scientists at the University of Adelaide in South Australia and sent to the U.S.¿s National Cancer Institute (NCI), of Bethesda, Md., for testing.

John Bowie, a chemist at the university, told BioWorld International he knew little more about the anticancer results of the NCI tests than that the chemical affected certain forms of cancer in laboratory conditions.

He said the peptides had been removed as part of his group¿s research into the skin chemicals of frogs research that involved 10 years of collecting and isolating the chemicals. It would be ¿nice¿ if there were a secondary result from their research, Bowie said, but his team will continue its research into frog chemicals. It cost A$500 (US$319.60) to A$1,500 to synthesize 25 milligrams of each sample taken in order to send it off to the NCI for testing, Bowie said. Mark Lawson