Weight-Loss Drugs That Work? Cancer Meds Show Promise in Monkey Study

Although medical advances have been coming fast and furious when it comes to drugs, weight loss has always been a mixed bag of success when it comes to options and treatment.

If there was an effective, safe way to speed weight loss via the use of medication, it stands to reason, we’d probably have a far thinner populace in the United States. Generally, patients who seriously need help with losing excess weight resort to risky weight-loss surgery to achieve their goal of becoming slimmer. But a new drug in the early stages of development, it seems, could lead to the creation of better, more efficient weight-loss drugs.

A drug originally developed for use in prostate cancer patients has shown initial promise in rhesus monkeys in fomenting relatively rapid weight loss through a novel approach to treating obesity. In addition to average weight loss of 11% of body weight in the first month of treatment, the monkeys used 50% less insulin after being given the drug.

While most weight-loss drugs either aim to suppress appetite or increase metabolism, the drug given to the monkeys works in an entirely different way, study author Dr. Wadih Arap explains:

“Targeting blood vessels of white fat tissue is a novel conceptual approach against obesity… Adipotide is a new drug candidate against obesity to be translated into potential clinical applications in humans… the monkeys lost 27 percent of abdominal white fat after Adipotide treatment.”

Arap said a study among prostate cancer patients is planned in the near future:

“There is an increasingly clear scientific and medical interplay among obesity, metabolic syndrome and several human cancers, such as prostate, breast, colon, ovarian, among others… Basically, we are in a cancer center and our group in particular has long been interested in this matter as a potentially new therapeutic in prostate cancer patients.”

One caveat, though- a month after treatment ceased, the monkeys studied began to gain weight again.