Blood hormone may be key to appetite suppression and obesity control

How the body naturally regulates appetite through the presence of a blood hormone may offer the prospect of a safer and more effective method of weight control, according to Dr. Leonard Firestone of Manhattan Pharmaceuticals.

Manhattan's scientists have observed that the levels of the signaling molecule, oleoyl estrone (OE), which appears to play a key role in communicating levels of stored body fat to the brain, are significantly lower in obese patients than predicted on the basis of body weight. This leads to the possibility that raising OE levels in the obese will suppress appetite and cause weight loss.

"Our animal studies have now yielded strong support for our prediction" observes Dr. Firestone, "with body weight reductions of 20%, and daily caloric intake reductions of 40% or more during OE treatment. This is why we're so optimistic about OE's potential to help obese patients in the very near future."

With 30.6 percent of the adult U.S. population suffering from obesity, Dr. Firestone believes these initial findings are important, because there are still only two pharmaceuticals that are FDA-approved for the long-term treatment of obesity, and neither offer particularly dramatic relief.

"Another major problem facing obese patients right now, is that treatment with the current generation of obesity drugs can be worse than the disease," Dr. Firestone says. Obesity doctors have noted relatively high incidences of unpleasant side effects from these drugs, such as incontinence, diarrhea, bloating and vitamin deficiency, and even certain dangerous side effects including heart rhythm disturbances and hypertension.

"Many of my medical colleagues feel that this is simply too high a price to pay for a 300 pound patient to lose 20 or so pounds," Dr. Firestone says "So, to meet the needs of these patients, the next generation therapeutic must be far more effective, and have far fewer side effects."

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