Overall and abdominal body fat levels drop, with reversible renal side effects
Weight, BMI and abdominal circumference all continued to drop for three weeks after treatment ended before slowly beginning to reverse during the fourth week of the follow‑up period.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was used to gauge abdominal body fat, thought to be the most dangerous area for humans to gain weight in terms of raising disease risk. Treated monkeys' abdominal fat levels fell by 27 percent during the study. Fat levels increased slightly in the control group.
Lean monkeys did not lose weight in a separate study to test for potential effects of the drug in non-obese animals, indicating that the drug's effect may be selective for obese subjects.
Monkeys in the studies remained bright and alert throughout, interacting with caretakers and demonstrating no signs of nausea or food avoidance. This is potentially an important finding since unpleasant side-effects have limited the use of approved drugs that reduce fat absorption in the intestines.
The principal side effects were noted in the kidneys. "The renal effect was dose-dependent, predictable and reversible," Barnhart noted.
Second drug developed via vascular ZIP codes
This study is the second drug developed using a vascular mapping technique created by the Arap-Pasqualini lab. Blood vessels, they found, are more than a uniform and ubiquitous "pipeline" that serves the circulatory system, but differ depending on the organ or tissue that they support.
They have developed a way of screening peptides small bits of proteins to identify those that bind to specific vascular cells among the many possible "ZIP codes" present in a human vascular map. For blood vessels that support fat cells, the target protein is prohibitin, which they found in unusual abundance on the
|Contact: Scott Merville|
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center