New Drug Shows Promise in Killing Fat Cells

New Drug that Kills Fat Cells Proves Successful in Monkeys

Have you ever wished for a diet pill that would just burn all your fat away?  A team at the University of Texas has created a drug that does just that – an all new type of diet pill, one that targets the fat cell itself instead of increasing metabolism or suppressing appetite like conventional diet pills do.

Basically, the drug uses a “homing” agent to bind to a protein on the surface of a fat cell supporting blood vessel, where they then shoot a synthetic peptide over that triggers apoptosis.  With the blood supply to the fat cell now gone, the cell quickly dies and is metabolized and reabsorbed into the blood stream.

Where other diet pills can merely alter the rate that your metabolism reabsorbs fat cells into your blood stream, Adipotide (the name they patented for the new drug), targets your fat cells directly, leading to much faster weight loss.

Although Adipotide hasn’t been tested on humans yet, it has recently been successfully tested on monkeys, again, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging was used to gauge the levels of adipose tissue, resulting in their body fat levels falling an average of 27 percent.

In terms of total body weight, however, the obese Rhesus monkeys lost an average of 11 percent over the course of the four week long study.  They showed reductions in BMI, abdominal circumference and body fat percentage, while the obese control group showed only a slight increase in weight.

There was also a non-obese group, which surprisingly lost no weight, suggesting that the drug’s effects may be selective to the obese.

If you’re wondering what benefits an “ultimate” diet pill would bring other than getting that nice, cut look for the summer.. cancer apparently thrives on fat cells.  According to the co-senior author of the study, Dr. Wadih Arap, “Obesity is a major risk factor for developing cancer, roughly the equivalent of tobacco use, and both are potentially reversible.”

Since primates share so many physiological features with humans, such as metabolic syndrome (a sort of pre-cursor to diabetes where your body develops a resistance to insulin), a successful trial on primates is a huge milestone on a drug’s way into human trials, and eventually, mass production.  A group of these monkeys was tested as well, resulting in a drop in insulin resistance, causing them to need only 50 percent as much insulin.

As for Dr. Arap, their next clinical trial will involve obese human prostrate cancer patients, and will be testing to see whether receiving an injection of Adipotide for 28 consecutive days would lead to a remission in their cancer. Says Arap, “The question is, will their prostate cancer become better if we can reduce their body weight and the associated health risks.”

The fact that the drug doesn’t cause body fat levels to drop is a good sign of the drug’s low potential for abuse and adverse effects.  If you’re wondering if there were any downsides at all, the authors did note that it can cause renal failure.  But then again, you run that risk every time you drink a beer.


Guest post courtesy of Eric Hirota. Eric is a personal trainer at LAVA Sport & Fitness in San Diego, CA. He specializes in plyometrics and writes for various fitness blogs in his free time. Visit Eric’s site  – Unusual Fat Burning Gadgets