Experimental Drug Melts The Fat Off Chunky Monkeys | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Experimental Drug Melts The Fat Off Chunky Monkeys

Fat monkeys, rejoice!

An experimental drug that zeroes in on the blood vessels that feed fatty tissue helped obese monkeys lose quite a bit of weight in a study done by researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Great for monkeys, sure. But maybe great for you, too.

Here's why. Some diet drugs that work well in rodents don't pan out when it comes time to try them in primates, including us. This drug, called adipotide, seeks out the particular blood vessels that fatty tissue needs for nourishment, then causes cells in those vessels to die.

Deprived of a blood supply, the fatty deposits shrivel up.

Ten monkeys treated in the latest study, whose results were just published in Science Translational Medicine, lost an average of 11 percent of their body weight over a month of treatment. The most weight lost by any of the five monkeys in the placebo group was 1 percent.

On the safety side, the drug was pretty well tolerated but did show some side effects in the kidneys. Those were mild and got better on their own once treatment stopped.

The drug, given by injection, isn't going to be on pharmacy shelves anytime soon. But it has now been seen to work in five different species — from mice to monkeys.

The M.D. Anderson team is getting ready to try the drug in overweight men with prostate cancer to determine if drug-induced weight loss improves their cancers.

Ablaris Therapeutics, a unit of Arrowhead Research Corp., has the rights to the drug. M.D. Anderson and key members of the research team have a financial interest in Ablaris.

For more on the research, see this M.D. Anderson video.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Are DVD Box Sets A Dying Business? Studios Hope The Answer Is 'Not Yet'

As viewers turn to streaming sites to watch old TV shows, studios are issuing new DVD box sets of classic shows to a shrinking market. Critic Dave Bianculli suggests a few sets that are worth buying.
NPR

America's Elite Cows Don't Give Birth — Their Surrogates Do

Implanting cows with the embryos of genetically superior heifers is big business these days. It's helping elite cattle breeders and beef and dairy producers spread U.S. cow genetics around the globe.
NPR

5 Things You Should Know About Martin O'Malley

His announcement is quintessentially Baltimore with a venue well-known to area residents and the addition of a well-known local group, the Kelly Bell Band, booked as entertainment.
NPR

New Season Of 'Halt And Catch Fire' Is A Welcomed Upgrade

AMC's show Halt and Catch Fire chronicles the dawn of the PC-era at a time when companies like Texas Instruments dominated the Silicon Prairie. The second season debuts Sunday.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.