A new class of anti-obesity compounds with potential anti-diabetic properties
A molecule known as MnTBAP has rapidly reversed obesity in mice and could be effective for humans in the future, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania. “In the span of a month, mice with pre-existing obesity lost 20 percent of their body weight and about 50 percent of their fat mass.”
The weight loss is explained partly by a decrease in food consumption, but other mechanisms are also at play, according to the study published Wednesday (Sept. 23, 2015) in an open-access paper in PLOS One.
The authors report that MnTBAP also has beneficial effects on type 2 diabetes by improving insulin action in muscle and fat. Insulin is the hormone that allows tissues to take up glucose. “In type 2 diabetics, insulin action is impaired, causing the pancreas to go into overdrive in an attempt to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
“Over time, the pancreas becomes exhausted and can’t keep up, leading to rising blood glucose levels and the development of diabetes,” Jonathan Brestoff, the study’s first author, said in an exclusive interview with KurzweilAI. Brestoff is now at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
He said this molecule represents “a new class of anti-obesity compounds with potential anti-diabetic properties.” He has co-founded the biotech company Symmetry Therapeutics, Inc. to translate the team’s science into clinical applications to treat obesity via an anti-obesity compound called SYM401.
Symmetry is taking an unusual approach with its drug development by crowdfunding part of its research on the platform IndieGoGo. Brestoff said their efforts have gained international attention for attempting to add transparency to an otherwise secretive industry, and have attracted donations and private investors. Their campaign ends October 6, 2015.
On Monday Sept. 21, the CDC published new statistics on obesity in the United States indicating that it remains one of the biggest public health problems facing this country.