With the help of a new medication, fat may be getting its eviction notice from your body very soon. A new experimental drug called Adipotide cuts off blood supply to fat cells causing them to die. A very innovative idea compared to the current weight loss drug options.
Current weight loss drugs that are available control the appetite, increase the body’s temperature, and decrease the amount of fat absorbed from the diet. Adipotide is targeted to a specific protein called prohibitin that is highly populated on blood vessels that lead to fat cells. Without blood supporting the growth of these fat cells they cannot sustain themselves. The dead cells are reabsorbed into the body.
Currently Adipotide is in the beginning stages of testing. The concept came from a scientist developing a cancer drug trying to cut off the blood supply to cancerous cells so they would not continue to grow. Most clinical trials begin with rats and if considered safe usually move on to healthy male subjects. Adipotide was initially tested in rats and the results showed a 30 percent decrease in body weight. The next step was to test in monkeys, being that they are the species that most closely resembles humans. Adipotide was administered to the monkeys by injection and the dosage was based on their weight. It was given to them for 28 days and then they had a 28-day rest period. What they discovered was that obese monkeys lost about 11 percent of their body weight.
Another study that was conducted showed that monkeys who were leaner showed no effect to Adipotide. The weight loss continued into the third week of the second month of the trial and began to reverse in the last week. Changes in the amount of abdominal fat was measured as this is a predictor in humans of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and many other health problems. Abdominal fat was decreased by 27 percent. The biggest concern they discovered was the drug effect on kidney function which was reversed when Adipotide was stopped.
Will the effects on the kidneys be a factor in preventing Adipotide from moving to human clinical trials? Only time and the FDA will know the answer.
I think that the concept of Adipotide is a breakthrough and could be the start of a weight loss drug development revolution. But I can’t help but to have many concerns. Weight loss aids are frequently abused. With Adipotide’s effects on the kidneys would people be willing to take this medication to lose weight with the risk of eventual kidney failure? Our body needs a certain amount of fat to be used as an energy source. If this drug does not work in patients who are leaner would this drug stop working once a patient becomes lean while using the medication? How does this drug know what the stopping point is?
At this point there are just too many questions. Years of research and testing will need to be done to determine if this is a viable and safe option for weight loss.
November 11th, 2011