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Sanford-Burnham research advances to patient studies at TRI
Date:3/6/2012

ge numbers of brown fat cells. By finding a way to activate brown fat in adults, calories, which otherwise would be stored as unwanted white fat, can be burned. Orexin deficiency is associated with obesity in both animals and humans, while high orexin levels correlate with leanness.

"Advancing this orexin research to the TRI is a crucial first step in translating fundamental research at Sanford-Burnham to the clinical phase," said Steven Smith, M.D., scientific director of the TRI and co-director of translational research for Sanford-Burnham's Diabetes and Obesity Research Center. "At the TRI we will conduct proof-of-concept experiments to validate this new drug target and begin to test it for safety and efficacy."

So far, orexin has only been tested in mouse models, where it has been shown to reduce fat by 50 percent, even under conditions of caloric excess. The fat loss is due to an elevation in the metabolic rate. During the study at the TRI, scientists will conduct clinical testing to assess orexin's mode of action, efficacy, and how it works in the human body, as well as evaluate the hormone's acute effect in stimulating energy expenditure.

When it opens in March 2012, the TRI's new 54,000 sq. ft. facility in Orlando, Florida, will contain a research clinic, imaging technology, a biorepository for sample collection and storage, as well as several other resources for metabolic studies. But the facility's highlight will be the calorimeter rooms - small dormitory-style rooms that will allow TRI staff to measure fat and carbohydrate oxidation and energy expenditure as a person goes about his or her normal life. To make the best use of the generated data, the TRI is also building a superior informatics platform to collect and analyze their own research data, as well as personal and sample information for thousands of Florida Hospital patients. This database will help TRI, Florida Hospital and Sanford-Burnham scientists to better correlate
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Contact: Deborah Robison
drobison@sanfordburnham.org
407-745-2073
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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