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New Treatment Aids Weight Loss, Improves Diabetes in Monkeys
Date:11/28/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A new, lab-created antibody that mimics the action of a naturally occurring molecule causes weight loss in monkeys, researchers report.

The engineered antibody also appears to improve insulin sensitivity, which could fight type 2 diabetes, and it decreases levels of triglycerides, a blood fat that contributes to hardening of the arteries.

"The results we describe in animal models are profound and very encouraging," said study senior author Yang Li, scientific director at Amgen, Inc., in Thousand Oaks, Calif. "While we're excited about these findings, we're still evaluating the results."

Li said it's important to remember these findings were in monkeys and only in a preclinical setting. It's not yet clear how this treatment might act in humans.

The study was funded by Amgen, the developer of the new treatment. The findings are published in the Nov. 28 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Obesity and its frequent companion, type 2 diabetes, are growing problems in the United States that threaten to overwhelm the health care system if they continue to increase, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity treatments generally aren't effective in the long term, and while medications are available for type 2 diabetes, many people with the disease aren't able to achieve blood sugar levels low enough to avoid complications, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The current study began by looking at a molecule called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21). This molecule has garnered a lot of research interest lately because it appears to have many positive effects on obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to the study.

In the body, FGF21 is induced during fasting or starvation. Scientists are still trying to understand how FGF21 causes beneficial changes, but suspect it
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