Most weight-loss drugs help burn fat by speeding up metabolism, suppressing appetite, or both. But a new drug currently being tested on obese rhesus monkeys goes a step further: It reportedly "kills" fat cells. Researchers at the University of Texas think the drug could one day help fight obesity in humans. Here's what you should know:
What is this fat-killing drug?
The experimental drug is called Adipotide, and it works by targeting the cells found in white fat tissue, says Steven Reinberg at USA Today. Adipotide kills fat "by attaching itself to fat cells in the blood vessels and triggering a synthetic protein that causes the cell to die." Afterward, those dead cells are reabsorbed by the body and metabolized.
And it made these fat monkeys skinny?
Skinnier, at least. In just four weeks, the obese monkeys lost 11 percent of their body weight. The monkeys also shed 27 percent of their abdominal fat, says Tim Barribeau at io9. Caveat: "Monkeys that were already thin didn't shed pounds at all, meaning it might only target extra weight, not the stuff we need to survive."
Would this work on humans?
It's promising. Usually, fat burning drugs are tested on mice. Researchers believe this research is particularly "relevant because it was done with primates," says Jennifer Booton at Fox Business. Plus, the fatter monkeys in the study had grown portly thanks to their own overeating and lack of exercise — just like many obese humans.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- An open letter to #brands about Gamergate
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- The most sensible GOP alternative to ObamaCare comes from a Senate candidate who is almost sure to lose
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- When Khomeini said no to Iranian nukes
Subscribe to the Week