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Anti-obesity drug Adipotide  (Source: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center)
The new drug, called Adipotide, attacks white adipose tissue under the skin and around the abdomen

Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed a drug that assaults the blood supply of fat cells and led to weight loss in obese rhesus monkeys.

Renata Pasqualini, Ph.D., co-senior author of the study and professor in MD Anderson's David H. Koch Center for Applied Research for Genitourinary Cancers, along with Wadih Arap, M.D., co-senior author of the study and a professor in the Koch Center, and Kirstin Barnhart, D.V.M., Ph.D., veterinary clinical pathologist at MD Anderson's Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, have created a new weight-loss drug that could potentially reduce accumulated white fat in humans.

Currently, weight-loss drugs work to suppress the appetite or increase metabolism in order to combat obesity, but harmful side effects come with the use of such drugs.

Now, Pasqualini and Arap have designed a new drug called Adipotide, which attacks white adipose tissue. This tissue is an unhealthy kind of fat that accumulates around the abdomen and under the skin. Adipotide contains a homing agent that attaches to a protein on the surface of blood vessels that support the fat. A synthetic peptide then triggers cell death, and with a lack of blood supply, the fat cells are reabsorbed.

The drug was used in mice models and rhesus monkey models. Adipotide was able to decrease abdominal circumference, body mass index (BMI) and body fat.

According to the study, the obese mice lost about 30 percent of their body weight while on Adipotide. The rhesus monkeys in the study, which were "spontaneously" obese due to overeating and a lack of physical activity, had a 27 percent decrease in abdominal fat levels. The drug reduced the weight of rhesus monkeys by 11 percent in just one month.

The rhesus monkeys, in addition to being obese, had other health problems associated with their obesity such as metabolic syndrome. This can lead to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But those treated with Adipotide used about 50 percent less insulin.

The research team used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to gauge abdominal body fat, which discovered the reduction in abdominal fat levels.

According to the study, monkeys were alert and acted normally during treatment. This showed that the usual side effects of weight-loss drugs, such as loss of appetite and nausea, were not present while using Adipotide. However, Barnhart noted side effects in the kidneys, but the effect was "dose-dependent, predictable and reversible."

In a separate study to test for the drug's effects in non-obese monkeys, lean monkeys did not lose weight, which shows that the drug only acts in obese subjects.

The next step will be a clinical trial for obese prostate cancer patients, where these patients will receive daily injections of Adipotide for 28 days. The team has targeted prostate cancer patients because current treatments can lead to weight gain, and weight gain has caused problems with arthritis. This then leads to less activity, and more weight gain.

"The question is, will their prostate cancer become better if we can reduce their body weight and the associated health risks," said Arap.

This study was published in Science.

Source: Science Daily

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Reduce your daily caloric intake
By TerranMagistrate on 11/14/2011 12:02:18 PM , Rating: -1
If you want to lose weight/body fat and avoid all the potential side effects and long term damage that undoubtedly comes along with using this pharmaceutical.

It's not all that difficult.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By Etsp on 11/14/2011 12:10:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's not all that complex. Eat less and exercise more. Difficulty is entirely subjective and is dependent upon the person.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By bigi on 11/14/11, Rating: -1
RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By lyeoh on 11/14/2011 3:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
It's not all that complex. Eat less and exercise more.

You say it's not all that complex but you and others like you keep leaving out the basic part about excreting.

Not everyone shits the same percentage of calories they consume. If the claims that a small extra amount of calories consumed each day add up to weight gain, then logically a small extra amount of calories excreted each day would add up to weight loss too.

See also:

Biologist Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis became quite well known a few years ago for a group of very skinny mice in his lab. The mice were skinny because they had no bacteria in their intestines. Gordon had kept them completely bacteria-free. If a bacteria-free mouse eats, food passes right through the intestine, significantly undigested.

So without bacteria, the mouse can eat and eat and eat and never gain weight. But when Gordon exposed the mice to "this big, bad, dirty world," as Gibson calls it, the mice suddenly turned their food into more calories and gained weight. So bacteria matter. Apparently, they can digest food far more efficiently.

Metabolism does matter a lot too. Mammals burn up a lot more calories than reptiles. If your body has many more colder parts (e.g. cold hands, limbs etc), you will be burning fewer calories than someone who was more evenly warm.

There is clearly a problem that many people can't solve otherwise why has obesity skyrocketed amongst the US people despite all that "Food Pyramid" advice (from the US Department of _Agriculture_, go figure ;) ) and "low fat" options? There are also some claims about sugar (particularly fructose) consumption being a major cause of obesity.

So "eat less exercise more" is as helpful as the USDA pyramid (e.g. not at all).

By someguy123 on 11/14/2011 3:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
Metabolism is not magic. You're not going to be burning massive amounts of excess calories based on genetics. I doubt you would want to suffer the symptoms of hyperthyroidism just to "be skinny".

Also that test you're referring to has mice with intestines made completely sterile. This is as far from reality as you can get, and is mainly intended to show the possibility of targeting intestinal bacteria for medical reasons rather than proof of "natural" causes of fatness.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By AmishElvis on 11/14/2011 3:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
I recently lost almost 50 pounds, and I can tell you that losing weight is a major pain in the %#@. It's more than just the willpower you need to go to bed hungry every night, it's things like waking up early enough to make yourself a salad so you don't have to depend on fast food for lunch, and it's constantly begging off going out with your friends because you know you'll drink if you do. Or just budgeting the time you need to exercise the hour+ you need to each day.

If science gives us a magic pill that lets people lose weight without having to go through all that, I say great. The whole point of technology is to make people's lives easier. Give this drug to everyone on the planet and let them eat cheesecake.

Although I will say that losing weight the hard way gave me an incredible since of accomplishment.

By Denigrate on 11/14/2011 5:22:45 PM , Rating: 1
And you'll die young because of side effects from the drug, or from heart disease because you didn't exercise enough.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By Dr of crap on 11/14/2011 12:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
You beat me to it.

So are these "patients" going to have to take this for the rest of their lives since they haven't changed what it was that made them fat to begin with?!!?

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By cjohnson2136 on 11/14/2011 12:20:12 PM , Rating: 5
The drug would have to be used as a helping tool to learn better practice. People can not expect it to be a miracle pill. But if it allows the person that is 350 pounds to lose 100 pounds which losing that weight can then give them more energy allows them to exercise more and all the while learning better eating habits from nutritionist/physiologist to help with why they eat. Then the drug can be very effective at changing someones live. But people need to see it as a tool like I said and not a cure.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By AerieC on 11/14/2011 1:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
But that's the problem. Nobody sees drugs like this as the tools they are. They think it's a license to eat whatever they want, and not exercise, with no consequences.

Giving people a pill circumvents the whole, "teaching them healthy lifestyle choices," thing. They don't learn self control. They don't learn how to exercise. They don't learn how to make healthy choices. They learn that all of their bad choices mean nothing because a pill will fix everything.

I mean, at least gastric bypass sort of forces people to eat smaller portions (they vomit if they eat too much). A pill does nothing to change one's habits.

As soon as people stop treatments like this, they gain the weight right back.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By cjohnson2136 on 11/14/2011 1:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
Which is why the doctor forces patients to do a lifestyle change. For gastric bypass patients have to go through a 6 month or 3 month program depending on their health insurance that includes a entire work up of their health, physiological state, and lots of sessions with a nutritionist and support groups to learn everything. This pill could be a substitute to surgery but still use all the pre-planning stages first. This type of drug can not be something a doctor just gives a patient it has to be something that is closely monitored by the doctor so the doctor knows the patient is doing the program correctly. I know there are a lot of people that see gastric bypass as a miracle cure that just allows you to eat less and makes you skinny. But it doesn't without the right mindset gastric bypass you can just as easily rebound if you see it as a miracle cure.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By ekv on 11/15/2011 4:46:06 AM , Rating: 2
Which is why the doctor forces patients to do a lifestyle change.
Move over oxycontin -- I heard it's the most over-prescribed drug -- there's a new kid in town.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By AerieC on 11/15/2011 9:27:41 AM , Rating: 3
Which is why the doctor forces patients to do a lifestyle change.

I loled.

For one, doctors can't force patients to do anything. If doctors could force patients to change their lifestyles, obesity wouldn't be a problem in the first place.

Secondly, I'll let you in on a little secret: most doctors don't actually like people. Most doctors don't go into medicine to help people--they go into medicine because it's a prestigious, highly respected, powerful, money-falling-out-your-ass career. Anything that requires that much patient interaction is sure to fail for a majority of doctors, especially just to prescribe a pill, and especially if that pill has minimal side effects. They're just not going to do that much work.

Gastic bypass is different, for one, because it's invasive surgery. It's a lot of work on the part of the doctors and surgeons, it's dangerous, and it has a lot of potential consequences. For all those reasons, the doctors don't just let anyone get the surgery any time they want; a lot of that extra work is to cover their asses if something goes wrong. E.g. someone comes in who wants to lose 20 lbs, they're not going to give them gastric bypass for that. The risk is too great for such a little weight loss.

This is a pill. All the work the doctors have to do is scribble on a piece of paper and the patient goes away. If they don't have to do more work, they wont. As long as the side effects are minimal, you'd better believe doctors will prescribe it left and right to anyone even remotely overweight.

By cjohnson2136 on 11/15/2011 9:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
Which is why I feel that just giving the pill away is the wrong way to do it. And yes doctors could force their patients to change their lifestyles and monitor it or the patient doesn't get the pill. The pill can't be used as a miracle cure because it won't fix the underlying problem. That problem needs to be fixed or the person will just rebound in their weight. This type of drug would need to be regulated so that doctors can't just give it away to whoever for whatever reason.

By senecarr on 11/15/2011 10:30:19 AM , Rating: 2
Plenty of people are on a medication for the rest of their lives, does it make it inherently wrong?
So, assuming without the pill, the people will just be fat, which is worse - people who are fat, unhealthy, and not taking a pill, or people who are not fat, a littler healthier, and taking a pill? With-holding the pill isn't going to fix anything - if it did, the fact that it hasn't exist so far would mean people already got over weight problems without it.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By Shig on 11/14/2011 12:14:22 PM , Rating: 2
From the context of the article, this drug seems to be for treating people already on medication who are stuck in beds all day with serious illnesses, where weight gain can be an unwanted side effect that the patient can't really control.

By jvillaro on 11/14/2011 12:16:53 PM , Rating: 3
"It's not all that difficult."

Sometimes it is. It's not always black and white, for some people it's shades of grey.
There are many factors that can make it difficult for someone to reduce weight no matter what they try.
It's important to make sure the person needs this kind of drugs, but in this age of "there's a pill for everything" people don't measure the consequences, many just want the easy way out.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By cjohnson2136 on 11/14/2011 12:17:01 PM , Rating: 3
Some people are not fat from just over eating though. There are many people with thyroid problems that can cause obesity even though their calorie intake is low. I think this kind of medicine would be good for people that don't have eating/exercise issues.

Now if you have an eating/exercise issue I think bariatric surgery such as a Lap band can be greatly beneficial more then a drug. My mom just had the Lap Band procedure and it is helping her lose weight so she can exercise more because she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia which seriously limits the amount of exercise she can do but having lost some weight already it gives her more energy to be able to exercise more.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By Flunk on 11/14/2011 12:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
They already have medication for thyroid problems, that's not really an excuse.

If these pills can be used as an alternative for bariatric surgery in severely obese patients it can only be a good thing. The sort of surgery has a high risk of rather serious complications.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By Etsp on 11/14/2011 12:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Medication treats some of the effects of thyroid problems, they aren't a replacement thyroid.

Thyroid problems are most certainly a valid reason.

By geddarkstorm on 11/14/2011 1:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
What about people who have lost the ability to be ambulatory due to injury or disease, temporarily or permanently? What about many forms of medication that cause weight gain as a side effect?

Fat is nothing but a big inflammatory cytokine factory in our modern age, that causes massively bad health repercussions throughout the body as it aggregates. Something like this drug would do wonders as a preventative medicine, especially in the cases I listed above--and that in turn would take a lot of burden off our health care system and in theory lower costs for us all.

So, why are you complaining about a good thing that could only benefit us all, if it works?

By cjohnson2136 on 11/14/2011 1:39:51 PM , Rating: 1
It depends on the type of bariatric surgery you are referring to. The Lap Band is actually low risk because they are nothing cutting or stapling your stomach like gastric bypass.

By icemansims on 11/14/2011 12:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
It's not all that complex, you mean.

There's a big difference there.

Lifting an engine block isn't a complex activity, but it can definitely be difficult.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By Doc0608 on 11/14/2011 1:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that some research has shown that even if an obese person does lose weight, the adipocytes remain behind, which can send signals to the rest of the body that it needs to eat or retain a greater percentage of calories. This can result in the yo-yo weight issues that many people who attempt to lose weight can suffer from.

This drug, be actually eliminating adipocytes, can prevent this signalling and possibly result in better long-term weight loss when combined with a change of lifestyle.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By twhittet on 11/14/2011 1:39:05 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why you were rated down, unless someone knows of research saying the opposite.

Since fat cells shrink rather than dying off or getting metabolized, a previously fat person will have many more fat cells than a person who has been skinny all their life. I would assume that puts the previously fat person at a disadvantage.

Perhaps this could also be used as a LAST step to a exercise/diet weight loss plan and not just the first or only step.

By cjohnson2136 on 11/14/2011 1:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with a pure diet/exercise plan to start though is that is the person is 350 pounds they don't have the energy a lot of the time to do an exercise plan. This could help with the first step with a combination of diet to help lose some weight to the point where it will allow them to start exercise. Once they are at point they could stop drug. I see it more as a starting off that they slowly stop taking.

RE: Reduce your daily caloric intake
By Doc0608 on 11/14/2011 1:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't leave this to a last step, but would certainly be better as part of the exercise/life-style changes.

Just psychologically, it would probably be easier to keep someone on a new exercise regime if they are seeing good results, versus trying to exercise and eat right and never seeing the weight come off.

By twhittet on 11/14/2011 6:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
True, but for those who have already lost weight without drugs, this could still be useful.
The benefits are obvious at the beginning, but it would be interesting to see if using the drug to "kill" these cells would lead to more long-term weight loss than those who don't take it at all.

In the end, I fear there will be side effects that make it not worth the risk for many people. As long as doctors aren't coaxed into over-prescribing it by pressure of patients and drug companies, it could be a useful tool for some people though.

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