A team of scientists working at the Research Centre for Environmental Health in Munich, Germany have developed a compound that replicates the effects of three naturally occurring hormones that suppress appetite and lower blood sugar – without any side-effects.
So far the drug has been tested on rats and has yielded positive results in terms of curing both obesity and type 2 diabetes. The researchers hope the drug will be tested on humans within the next two years and be available for patients by 2020.
The hormonal effects that take place when taking the drug mirror the effect of gastric band weight-loss surgery, without the invasive surgery.
Lead author of the study Dr Brian Finan has said the following:
“We are hitting three different targets in one.
“We are driving down food intake and we are increasing energy expenditure and all the while improving the overall health of their tissues. We really hope it can live up to the nickname of a ‘super drug’.”
He goes on to say that the priority of the drug is to target obesity, but when the weight loss kicks in there are naturally improvements in type 2 diabetes.
So far tests have shown that in just two weeks the drug reduces body weight by 30%. Dr Finan says they are currently exploring whether or not the medication will need to be taken daily, but they are hoping for just once or twice a week.
Dr Richard Elliott, research communications manager from Diabetes UK has cautioned that the research is still in its early stages and that further clinical trials will be needed to ensure the drug is effective and safe for humans. He says the best way to manage type 2 diabetes is to maintain a healthy weight through healthy diet and regular exercise, alongside taking prescribed medication.