A new drug made obese monkeys lose 11% of their weight. Now, if it only works as well on humans.
ScienceDaily (Nov. 9, 2011) — Obese rhesus monkeys lost on average 11 percent of their body weight after four weeks of treatment with an experimental drug that selectively destroys the blood supply of fat tissue, a research team led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reports in Science Translational Medicine.
Body mass index (BMI) and abdominal circumference (waistline) also were reduced, while all three measures were unchanged in untreated control monkeys. Imaging studies also showed a substantial decrease in body fat among treated animals.
"Development of this compound for human use would provide a non-surgical way to actually reduce accumulated white fat, in contrast to current weight-loss drugs that attempt to control appetite or prevent absorption of dietary fat," said co-senior author Renata Pasqualini, Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson's David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers.
Previous attempts to treat obesity have predominantly focused on drugs aimed at suppressing appetite or increasing metabolism, the researchers noted, but these efforts have been hampered by their toxic side-effects. The MD Anderson group designed a new drug, which includes a homing agent that binds to a protein on the surface of fat-supporting blood vessels and a synthetic peptide that triggers cell death. Their blood supply gone, fat cells are reabsorbed and metabolized.