April 29, 2008

Study Raises Hope for Fat-burning Drugs

Scientists in Melbourne, Australia have reported that they may have discovered a new method of cell manipulation that could potentially be used to create revolutionary fat-burning drugs.

Researchers at the Howard Florey Institute removed the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) from lab mice. After removal, they noted significant changes in the mice's metabolisms.

On average, mice that were missing the enzyme weighed 20 percent less than the other mice, and had up to 60 percent less body fat.

The mice were able to eat just as much as those that still had the enzyme, but they burned more calories and gained less weight.

Researchers also hope that their discovery will translate into possible treatments for diabetes, since the faster metabolism exhibited in the mice weakened their risk of developing the disease.

Drugs such as those used to reduce high blood pressure already disable ACE in humans, but researchers hope to see similar drugs used to eliminate fat.

Dr. Ian Campbell, medical director of the charity Weight Concern said the new research was interesting, but acknowledged that it had only been used in mice so far.

"The promise that one will be able to eat more and not gain weight is unlikely to be fulfilled," Campbell said, adding that there was nothing to indicate that ACE inhibitor drugs encouraged weight loss in humans.

"All the evidence we have is that nothing works better than a healthy diet and increased physical activity, with or without weight loss drugs."


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Howard Florey Institute

Weight Concern