Yesterday's issue of the scientific journal Nature Medicine witnessed the publication of a new study stating that, as several laboratory-based experiments have shown, a drug typically used to treat asthma and other medical conditions can also be successful when it comes to tackling obesity and diabetes.
The drug whose effect on said two medical conditions was investigated as part of this research is known to scientists as amlexanox.
According to the team of specialists from the University of Michigan's Life Sciences Institute who tested the drug's effect on mice, amlexanox fights back the organisms' natural reaction of reducing the metabolism whenever it senses that the calorie input has been diminished.
Newswise quotes Alan Saltierl, one of the specialists involved in carrying out this study, who commented on these findings as follows:
“One of the reasons that diets are so ineffective in producing weight loss for some people is that their bodies adjust to the reduced calories by also reducing their metabolism, so that they are ‘defending’ their body weight.”
Still, “Amlexanox seems to tweak the metabolic response to excessive calorie storage in mice.”
By the looks of it, amlexanox works by inhibiting the otherwise normal responses of two genes dubbed IKKE and TBK1, which are well known to researchers for their role in maintaining metabolic balance.
As Alan Saltierl puts it, “Amlexanox appears to work in mice by inhibiting two genes—IKKE and TBK1—that we think together act as a sort of brake on metabolism. By releasing the brake, amlexanox seems to free the metabolic system to burn more, and possibly store less, energy.”
Despite the fact that, up until now, these researchers have mainly focused on carrying out various laboratory-based experiments on mice, it is to be expected that at some point in the not so distant future, clinical trials involving human patients will be rolled out.
The US National Institutes of Health, the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center, the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, and the Nathan Shock Center in the Basic Biology of Aging have all offered their support to this study.