Do we finally have a miracle weight loss drug? I mean, for real this time? The data seems to support such a claim, at least for overweight monkeys that simply can’t drop those extra pounds no matter what they try. After receiving the drug for just four weeks, the monkeys lost between 7 and 15 percent of the body weight, and averaged a more than 38 percent loss of total body fat.
The study, published November 9th in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was headed by husband-and-wife team Wadih Arap and Renata Pasqualini at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Their drug, called Adipotide, targets the blood vessels that feed fat cells, or adipocytes. Attacking those blood vessels chokes off the nutrient supply that the fat cells need to survive and they either die or become stressed to the point that they don’t function.
Of course, blood vessels are needed to keep all cells alive. But the major medical advancement that adipotide brings is its ability to kill blood vessels associated with fat cells while leaving other blood vessels alone. The strategy has been long sought after by cancer biologists trying to kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. Where others had failed, Arap and Pasqualini, cancer biologists themselves, succeeded by taking an approach that was novel in multiple ways.