Weight loss

New weight loss pill "in the works"

new pill make help weight loss Based on leptin, a known appetite suppressant

Last week the European Medicines Agency banned the weight loss pill Reductil as it increases the risk of heart disease (see here for details). But scientists in Canada are claiming that they could be on track to develop a safer alternative.

The new pill is based on leptin, the protein that tells our brain to stop eating. Mice deprived of the protein will eat continuously until they become too big to move, according to the scientist leading the study, Professor Moïse Bendayan.

Leptin regulates appetite in mammals and its levels decrease when fasting and rise during meals. It has been proven to be an appetite suppressant when administered intravenously to pathologically obese people.

Another member of the study, Philippe Cammisotto, suggests that if taken in pill format "it would provide obese people with the sensation of being full - they would eat less and in turn lose weight."

The new pill is being created based on a startling Université de Montréal discovery from 2006: Leptin isn't only secreted by fatty tissues. "From the first bite of any meal, leptin levels skyrocket in the bloodstream. Yet this has nothing to do with the leptin stored in the fatty tissues," Dr Bendayan said.

"In the lab, we proved that up to 80% of cells in our stomach also produce leptin. Those are the ones that regulate appetite," he added.

The professor hopes to start animal testing this year.

This article was published on Wed 27 January 2010

Image © Martin Allinger - Fotolia.com

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