Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

OHSU scientists test medication to treat involuntary weight loss

31.03.2005


Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, in collaboration with Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., have successfully tested a research medication that both stimulates appetite and reduces metabolic rate in preclinical trials. Neurocrine, which developed the test medication for this research, is now developing a related medication that will likely be tested in patients suffering from a common, disease-related form of malnutrition and involuntary weight loss called cachexia. The results of the research are published in the current online edition of the journal Endocrinology.



"We’ve all seen AIDS and cancer patients who lose their appetites and suffer from involuntary weight loss. They lose muscle mass and become very frail as their disease progresses -- this is what we refer to as cachexia," explains Daniel Marks, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the OHSU Center for Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders and an assistant professor of pediatric endocrinology in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Cachexia is a very serious and currently untreatable disorder that can often impede the battle against the related disease. For instance, cancer patients who are malnourished due to cachexia cannot undergo intense chemotherapy simply because their bodies are too frail to handle it. If we can prevent cachexia and keep these patients from deteriorating physically, it gives them a greater chance of surviving the disease they are fighting."

This latest research breakthrough is based on earlier studies that demonstrated how a receptor on certain brain cells -- called the MC4 receptor -- can influence metabolism and appetite. Previous research involving mice demonstrated that when this specific cell receptor is blocked by delivering medications directly to the brain, the effects of cachexia are reversed. The animals’ appetite and weight increase while their metabolic rate decreases. The next step in the research process, and the goal of this study, was to develop and test a medication that would have the same effect. This medication, and others in its class, have excellent oral absorption, which also enhances their appeal as drug candidates.


In this research, the scientists gave both normal mice and mice with a cachexia-like syndrome Neurocrine’s orally-administered medication that blocks the MC4 receptor in the brain. In both cases, the animals’ appetites increased and their metabolic rates decreased, ultimately resulting in the resumption of normal growth and accumulation of muscle mass. Researchers now hope to conduct clinical trials where both healthy human patients and those suffering from cachexia receive related oral medications to determine the drug’s safety and effectiveness.

"We believe the results obtained in this collaborative study with OHSU will provide an important proof-of-principle for Neurocrine’s small molecule MC4 receptor antagonist program in animal models relevant for cachexia," said Alan C Foster, Ph.D., Neurocrine Fellow and head of Neurocrine’s neuroscience group. Neurocrine is a San Diego-based company that is developing medications related to weight regulation. "We hope to advance an optimized molecule into the first stages of human clinical testing later this year."

"While a lot of attention is paid to the country’s obesity epidemic, researchers at OHSU also investigate the other side of weight regulation which is not as well-publicized -- extreme weight loss," said Roger Cone, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders. "Cachexia and disorders like it can have extremely serious consequences on patients. This research not only provides hope for these patients, it is also provides another important piece of the puzzle in regards to the brain’s control over weight regulation."

The Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders is a new research institute at Oregon Health & Science University in which scientists and physicians work together to address the important basic and clinical questions surrounding weight regulation. Researchers at OHSU have been involved in a number of key weight regulation discoveries, including identification of specific cells in the brain that are crucial to weight control, and the possible connection between infant hormone exposure and lifelong weight issues. Another key role of the center is to provide a base of expertise for public (community) education, and serve as a source for continuing education in the treatment of weight-related disorders, such as obesity, diabetes, anorexia and cachexia.

Jim Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht FAU researchers demonstrate that an oxygen sensor in the body reduces inflammation
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>