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  Life   Health  22 Aug 2018  Major breakthrough: Scientists develop drug that prevents weight

Major breakthrough: Scientists develop drug that prevents weight

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : Aug 22, 2018, 11:33 am IST
Updated : Aug 22, 2018, 11:33 am IST

If the pill does become effective, it will help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even dementia.

Scientists found that when the enzyme known as CerS1 (ceramide synthase 1) was blocked in mice they remained lean - even after gorging on high fat food. (Photo: Pixabay)
 Scientists found that when the enzyme known as CerS1 (ceramide synthase 1) was blocked in mice they remained lean - even after gorging on high fat food. (Photo: Pixabay)

In a major breakthrough, scientists have managed to discover a protein that makes people fat, thus turning the possibility of creating a pill to prevent obesity into a reality.

If the pill does become effective, it will help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even dementia.

 

Scientists found that when the enzyme known as CerS1 (ceramide synthase 1) was blocked in mice they remained lean - even after gorging on high fat food.

The research, conducted by an Australian team is hopeful that the same will apply to humans as well.

Their drug, dubbed PO53, was developed to specifically to target the protein because it was believed to be linked to insulin resistance in muscles, liver and fat.

Surprisingly, it did not prevent the lab rodents' levels of blood sugar rising - but lipids instead. The researchers found stopping CerS1 burned them up in skeletal muscle - meaning the mice had less adipose tissue.

Speaking about the study, Professor Nigel Turner, of the University of New South Wales, said that they anticipated that targeting this enzyme would have insulin-sensitising, rather than anti-obesity effects.

 

"However, since obesity is a strong risk factor for many different diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer, any new therapy in this space could have widespread benefits,” he added.

Prof Turner and colleagues said the results published in Nature Communications were unexpected as they were intending to stop insulin resistance that triggers Type 2 diabetes, the form caused by eating junk food, rather than obesity itself.

But it is the first time scientists have been able to develop a drug that successfully destroys lipid producing proteins that cause metabolic disease.

This makes it a significant advancement in the understanding and prevention of a range of chronic health conditions.

 

Tags: pill to prevent obesity, weight gain, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, seramide synthase, health and well being, lipid, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue