Experimental Drug Can Reportedly Convert White Fat to Brown-Like Fat; Possible Implications for Obesity & Metabolic Disease

An experimental drug causes loss of weight and fat in mice, a new study has found. The study results Were presented on March 6, 2015 at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego. Known as GC-1, the drug reportedly speeds up metabolism, or burning off, of fat cells. "GC-1 dramatically increases the metabolic rate, essentially converting white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity and metabolic disease, into a fat-like calorie-burning brown fat," said study author Kevin Phillips, Ph.D., a researcher at Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston. Until several years ago, scientists thought that only animals and human infants have energy-burning, "good" brown fat. "It is now clear," Dr. Phillips said, "that human adults do have brown fat, but appear to lose its calorie-burning activity over time." White adipose tissue, or fat, becomes a "metabolic villain," as Dr. Phillips called it, when the body has too much of it. Some published research shows that people who have more brown fat have a reduced risk of obesity and diabetes. Researchers are now working on ways to "brown" white fat, or convert it into brown fat. GC-1 works, according to Dr. Phillips, by activating the receptors for thyroid hormone, which play a role in regulating metabolism--the body's conversion of food into energy. Thyroid hormone receptors also help with adaptive thermogenesis, in which the body converts excess energy (calories and fat) to heat. Dr. Phillips said he and other researchers at Houston Methodist Research Institute have tested the drug in hundreds of mice, with partial research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Obese mice, both genetically obese and those with diet-induced obesity, received GC-1 treatment daily.
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