What's the Latest Development?

Following numerous setbacks in the fight against obesity, a new cancer treatment has produced an unexpected benefit: metabolic changes that result in rapid weight loss. "After four weeks of daily injections of adipotide and a four-week follow-up with no treatment—and without forced changes in diet or exercise—10 obese female rhesus macaques lost an average of 11% of body weight and 39% of fat deposits." The research was pioneered at Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

What's the Big Idea?

The strategy behind the new therapy is to kill fat cells by robbing them of the blood supply that nourishes them. "Adipotide was designed to attach itself just to the blood vessels that feed the body's fat deposits. Then it attacks them, causing them to wither and die. Apparently robbed of much of their blood supply, fat deposits respond by shedding fat cells." Trials on humans are expected to begin in the coming months but even if the drug proves successful, scientists say it will never be a replacement for a healthy lifestyle.

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