ORLANDO, Fla., March 6, 2012 Discoveries made in the laboratories of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona will, for the first time, advance to the clinical research stage involving human studies at the Florida Hospital Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI). The research will focus on orexin, an appetite-inducing hormone produced in the brain, which appears to resolve obesity without changes in food consumption or elevation in physical activity. This research is an example of the translational research focus at Sanford-Burnham and the TRI advancing science from laboratory bench to patient bedside. The studies will provide insight into individual responses and contribute to the development of personalized therapies for treating metabolic diseases - a focus area for both TRI and Sanford-Burnham.
Appetite-suppressing drugs have traditionally been the basis of weight-loss treatments since obesity is thought to be caused by excessive energy intake and low physical activity. However, appetite suppressants can produce unacceptable side effects and, after the treatment ends, patients usually regain more weight than they lost. Recent data indicate that orexin leads to weight loss by releasing excess energy as heat instead of storing it.
"At the center of our study," said Devanjan Sikder, D.V.M., Ph.D., assistant professor in Sanford-Burnham's Diabetes and Obesity Research Center, "is an anti-obesity strategy that does not rely on reducing food intake. Instead, we focus on the energy expenditure and feeding-inducing properties of orexin." He added, "My team has discovered that orexin activates calorie-burning brown fat, which we consider to be 'good' fat, and evidence strongly suggests that human obesity can arise from brown fat dysfunction."
Brown fat burns high quantities of sugar and fat, a process that is designed by nature to moderate body temperature in babies, who have lar
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Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute