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Researchers test 'anti-obesity treatment' on mice

The treated mice returned to a normal weight after five weeks of treatment despite continuing to eat a high-fat, high-sugar diet while their cholesterol levels also dropped and their liver inflammation went down. File photo: Reuters

The treated mice returned to a normal weight after five weeks of treatment despite continuing to eat a high-fat, high-sugar diet while their cholesterol levels also dropped and their liver inflammation went down. File photo: Reuters

Published Sep 12, 2023

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Researchers claim to have tested a potential anti-obesity treatment on mice.

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US fed a group of mice a high-fat, high-sugar, high-cholesterol diet for 10 weeks to double their weight and then gave them a thyromimetic drug - which mimic a synthetic thyroid hormone - delivered by injection and they found the obese animals lost weight despite continuing their unhealthy diet.

S. Thai Thayumanavan, professor of chemistry and biomedical engineering at the university, said: "The treated mice completely lost their gained weight, and we did not see any untoward side effects.

"Considering 100 million Americans have obesity and related cardiometabolic disorders, we became pretty excited about this work.

"There is a significant amount of development work to be conducted between mice and humans, but we are hoping it will eventually become a drug."

The treated mice returned to a normal weight after five weeks of treatment despite continuing to eat a high-fat, high-sugar diet while their cholesterol levels also dropped and their liver inflammation went down.

Thayumanavan published his teams findings in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Start-up company Cyta Therapeutics - which was founded at the UMass Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) - is taking on the task of trying to translate the findings into a way to help humans deal with obesity, but there is still a lot of work still to be done.

Thayumanavan added: "We really wanted to find out the factors that got affected. We found that we are activating the reverse cholesterol transport pathway, which lowers cholesterol.

“We believe that activation of fat oxidation and an increase in metabolic rate are causing the loss in weight, but more work needs to be done to prove that point."