Stop me if you've heard this one before. In the never-ending search for an obesity panacea, researchers from the University of Central Florida are confident they will have one.
They have identified a new genetic mechanism, which controls the body's fat-building process.
A gene called MCPIP (Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 Induced Protein), controls the development of fat cells. Until now, a different protein, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR gamma), had been universally accepted as the master controller of fat cell formation--technically called adipogenesis.
(You can now impress your friends by telling them, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma is like, sooo yesterday.)
Lead researcher Pappachan Kolattukudy (which is almost as hard to say as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma), said MCPIP is potentially an ideal target for drugs, which would prevent the body from becoming resistant to insulin, and prone to type 2 diabetes.
They want to make a drug for this? Shocking!
How the Wonder Drug Will Work
According to Klattukudy, shutting down MCPIP, a regulator of fat cell formation and blood vessel formation which feeds the fat cell, will prevent obesity and the major inflammatory diseases resulting from obesity, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The findings of a mouse study will be published in the October issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
What To Do In The Meantime
I think my default reaction with these breakthroughs is knee-jerk skepticism. Even if they do find the right chemical concoction to knock out this gene, it will probably take many years.
Obesity treatments are advancing very quickly, and there is obviously an extraordinary amount of money to be made by discovering drugs and other treatments to cure obesity. If this ever gets developed, it will be used either as a preventative measure, halting people from getting fat in the first place, or as a treatment, preventing further weight gain.
So, for the near future, don't put your healthy lifestyle on hold.