09 July 2012

Overweight? There's a vaccine for that

A new study has assessed the effectiveness of two vaccinations in reducing weight gain and increasing weight loss.


A new study, published in BioMed Central's open access journal, Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, assesses the effectiveness of two somatostatin vaccinations, JH17 and JH18, in reducing weight gain and increasing weight loss in mice.

Obesity and obesity-related disease is a growing health issue worldwide. Somatostatin, a peptide hormone, inhibits the action of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), both of which increase metabolism and result in weight loss. Vaccination with modified somatostatin causes the body to generate antibodies to somatostatin, effectively removing this inhibition without directly interfering with the growth hormones and subsequently increasing energy expenditure and weight loss.

Keith Haffer from Braasch Biotech LLC, tested the vaccinations in two groups of ten diet-induced obese male mice compared with a control group of ten mice which received saline injections. Mice in all groups had been fed a high fat diet for eight weeks prior to the study and continued to eat the same food for the duration of the six-week study. The vaccinations were administered twice - at the start of the study followed by a booster vaccination on day 22.

Body weight reduction

Four days after the first injection of modified somatostatin, the vaccinated mice had a 10% drop in body weight (not seen in the control mice). At the end of the study, results showed that both vaccines induced antibodies to somatostatin and significantly reduced body weight, sustaining a 10% lower body weight, without affecting normal levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, or insulin levels.

"This study demonstrates the possibility of treating obesity with vaccination", Keith explained. He continued, "Although further studies are necessary to discover the long term implications of these vaccines, treatment of human obesity with vaccination would provide physicians with a drug- and surgical- free option against the weight epidemic."

(EurekAlert, July 2012) 

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