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Scientists Find Way to Make 'Good' Brown Fat
Date:7/29/2009

ious types of cells (including adult mouse and human skin cells) to morph into brown fat. Once transplanted into mice, these galvanized cells turned into energy-burning brown fat.

"We have our hands on a molecule that can turn cells into brown fat," Spiegelman said, and the findings could eventually lead to a couple of different treatment possibilities.

One would be to take cells from an actual patient, "treat" it with the PRDM16 and C/EBP-beta combination, then inject it back into the patient with the hope that it would promote the creation of brown fat.

Another possibility would be to create a drug that would make brown fat. "That's a more conventional route," Spiegelman said.

"A combination of genes [proteins] are playing a role. It's not just one gene," Mezitis said. "We need to understand the pattern. We know the individual genes that may play a role, but we don't know the pattern."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on obesity.



SOURCES: Bruce Spiegelman, M.D., Ph.D., professor, cell biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Spyros Mezitis, M.D., Ph.D., endocrinologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Jacob Warman, M.D., chief, endocrinology, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; July 29, 2009, Nature, online


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