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New Drug Cuts Blood Supply to Fat Cells for Weight Loss without Exercise

Posted: Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adipotide basically reduces the blood supply specifically to fat cells, causing them to simply wither away.
Standard approaches usually involve trying to increase metabolism and or reducing calorie intake with appetite suppressants. Then, of course, there is always the gym or a gastric bypass.

Dr. Lou Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control program at Weill-Cornell Medical College explains: "This is an exciting new concept in our efforts to control obesity.... But we need human studies for efficacy and more importantly, safety."

The researchers, headed by the husband and wife team Wadih Arap and Renata Pasqualini, have been working on the project for years. In 2004 the research team proved the drug could bring substantial weight loss in mice. Now, after the highly successful results in monkeys, they have applied for FDA approval to begin trials in people, possibly within a year.

The drug was tested on monkeys to start with, and over four weeks they lost an average of 11 percent of their body mass. The drug also lowered the animals Body Mass Index (BMI) which measures the ratio of fat to other tissue. Interestingly, monkeys that were already thin did not lose any further weight, meaning that the drug was effectively targeting only fat cells and in theory cannot be overused.

Researchers are hopeful that the drug being successful on monkeys means it will translate to humans relatively easily, although of course, trials and tests may take some years.

Unfortunately though, the compound appears to share one of the same traits of many so called "magic" diet pills, and the monkeys soon showed weight gain once they stopped the medication.

In the reported results, the scientists did not use monkeys that were made genetically obese or forced to become fat in some other way. They chose the animals in the colony that tended to eat more and exercise less. They were the "couch potatoes" of the simian colony as Kirstin Barnhart, another of the researchers put it.

Adipotide will also have to climb over all the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) barriers, which are necessarily very strict with weight loss products. The FDA killed three weight loss drugs submitted in 2010 over safety concerns, leaving only one, known as orlistat (sold as Xenical or Alli) on the market.

Atipotide did produce some side effects in the monkeys especially in the kidneys, but the scientists say they were observed to be generally mild and reversible, although of course, long term or repeated use of the treatment might increase the problems.

Source:, journal Science Translational Medicine, Nov 9, 2011.

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