Within a month after treatment was stopped the monkeys started to gain weight again, the study authors noted.
The researchers are planning to test the drug on prostate cancer patients. These patients are prone to weight gain during hormone therapy, which can lead to arthritis-causing inactivity and a host of other health problems.
In addition, fat cells produce growth hormones that help cancer cells thrive, the researchers explained.
In this study, patients would receive injections of adipotide for 28 days.
"There is an increasingly clear scientific and medical interplay among obesity, metabolic syndrome and several human cancers, such as prostate, breast, colon, ovarian, among others," Arap said.
"Basically, we are in a cancer center and our group in particular has long been interested in this matter as a potentially new therapeutic in prostate cancer patients," he said.
Obesity expert Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said that "for those hopeful that pharmacotherapy might ultimately help us overcome epidemic obesity, this study serves up a preliminary dose of encouraging news."
This good news comes in a precautionary package of prior experience, Katz noted. "A study of nine weeks in a small group of genetically select monkeys is a very far cry from evidence in people, in the real world, over a meaningful span of time," he said.
Even weight-loss drugs that appeared to perform well in people over time like rimonabant and sibutramine have all led to disappointment, either because of waning effectiveness or toxicity, Katz noted.
"Adipotide may prove an exception to this rule, but believing it now would be the triumph of hope over experience," Katz said.
"This should not distract us from how much good we could reliably get done right now if we focused on turning what we already know about th
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