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‘Game-changing’ drug that spurs weight loss without dieting in the works – New York Post

Mar 29th, 2023


By Brooke Kato

March 23, 2023 | 5:55pm

Researchers are closer to developing a drug that could one day rival celebrity-touted Ozempic, as initial experiments show that an in-the-works medication can both prevent weight gain and promote weight loss.

Scientists from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio tested the game-changing drug, called CPACC, on mice.

Led by professor of medicine Madesh Muniswamy, the researchers discovered that the drug curbed weight gain from foods high in sugar and fat, which are prevalent in the Western diet.

It seems to be great news for people with a sweet tooth: In theory, people could chow down on whatever they wanted without the added health risks and weight gain.

Currently, 1 in 3 Americans is overweight, per the National Institutes of Health.

One of the main barriers to people losing weight is getting to a healthy diet and sticking to it, and also, you typically have to combine it with pretty aggressive exercise and not everyone can exercise, study author Travis Madaris, a doctoral student working with Muniswamy, told The Post.

This, standalone or maybe in combination with some minor lifestyle changes, would definitely be game-changing for people that struggle with losing weight.

The study, published in Cell Reports, comes after months of A-listers using the weight-loss injectable Ozempic, a drug meant for people with Type 2 diabetes. While theres been speculation as to who exactly has been taking it, the uptick in popularity has triggered a widespread shortage, leaving diabetics empty handed.

The Ozempic craze, however, reportedly comes with some side effects, such as a sagging face or possible intestinal obstruction. Researchers did not immediately observe any side effects from CPACC, although they are continuing to monitor the mice used as test subjects.

At their core, the two medications function entirely differently. Where Ozempic regulates insulin and slows digestion, which decreases appetite, CPACC inhibits how magnesium flows through the cell.

Magnesium plays a vital role in the mitochondrias function, specifically impacting the production and consumption of cellular energy, known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which fuels other bodily functions.

But researchers found that magnesium can slow energy production in the mitochondria when present in excess.

If the protein-coding gene that controls the flow of magnesium to the mitochondria, known as MRS2, is deleted, the body could, in theory, process fats and sugars more efficiently, researchers found.

Researchers first edited the genes in mice to make magnesium uptake more challenging in the mitochondria, observing that the mice remained thin despite eating diets high in fat.

Cue CPACC, which mimics that gene alteration and has the same results.

Researchers placed the mice under long-term dietary stress, or a diet high in calories and fat that is linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

After 20 weeks consuming the Western diet, scientists injected the rodents with either a placebo or CPACC every three days for six weeks, discovering that even with a high-fat diet, the rodents didnt gain weight, remaining slim.

Madaris told The Post that CPACC is vastly different from weight-loss medications currently available.

The mechanism of the drug is different than the mechanism of a lot of the other drugs that are on the market, Madaris said. So many of those drugs are very specific in targeting, say, insulin resistance, to help increase insulin production or help increase insulin sensitivity.

While researchers were able to delete the gene in rodents, that wouldnt be possible in humans, forcing the team to manufacture CPACC in a way that would instead inhibit the channel.

In theory, this would allow humans to take CPACC and lose weight without adapting a new diet.

While the study observed rodents consuming a poor diet, Madaris said that, ideally, CPACC would be paired with healthy eating and exercise. However, sweeping lifestyle changes arent necessary, in theory, for the drug to be effective.

The idea is that we could intervene in someone that is starting to gain weight, and their doctors are like, You need to start exercising and eating healthier, Madaris said. This could be an early intervention for people that are becoming obese.

At the same time, they could also used in people that are already obese, ideally, probably in conjunction with eating healthier and exercise.

But the drugs experimentations are still in their early stages, and theres still a lot of steps to do.

These findings are the result of several years of work, Muniswamy said in a statement. A drug that can reduce the risk of cardiometabolic diseases such as heart attack and stroke, and also reduce the incidence of liver cancer, which can follow fatty liver disease, will make a huge impact.

The study authors vowed to continue CPACCs development and are expecting funding from the NIH as a patent application pends. Clinical trials could begin as soon as six months, according to local outlet My San Antonio.

However, Madaris told The Post that there are more trials to be completed with rodents first, as they attempt to develop an oral version a pill of the medicine.

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'Game-changing' drug that spurs weight loss without dieting in the works - New York Post

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