A new gene breakthrough may potentially allow people in the future to eat anything they want without worrying about gaining weight.
An international team of researchers has reportedly hit a new gene breakthrough that may lead to the development of anti-obesity pills. The study, led by Professor Damien Keating from Flinders University in South Australia, found a gene that when removed, can reduce the body’s ability to store unnecessary fats.
“We know a lot of people struggle to lose weight or even control their weight for a number of different reasons. The findings in this study could mean developing a pill which would target the function of RCAN1 and may result in weight loss,” Professor Keating said.
According to research, the weight loss market in the United States alone is already worth around $66 billion USD. However, the estimated number of dieters may be decreasing due to the acceptance of obesity and the body positivity movement.
With this new study, a practical solution to the world’s growing obesity problem can now be seen on the horizon.
During their experiment, Professor Keating and his team removed a single obesity-related gene known as RCAN1 in mice. After genetically altering the rodents, the team put them on a variety of diets over periods of time ranging from eight weeks to six months.
Surprisingly, none of the mice gained weight. It was later discovered that the removal of RCAN1 from the rodents’ bodies helped them convert the unhealthy white fats into healthy energy-burning brown fats. The process continues even if the mice were resting.
At the moment, Prof. Keating and his team are investigating if removing or suppressing the RCAN1 gene in the human body would also cause the same effect. They are also looking into possible side effects of the procedure since the RCAN1 gene is also in charge of protecting cells from stressors. This mainly prevents these cells from causing neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
“We have already developed a series of drugs that target the protein that this gene makes, and we are now in the process of testing them to see if they inhibit RCAN1 and whether they might represent potential new anti-obesity drugs,” Prof. Keating went on to say.
“In light of our results, the drugs we are developing to target RCAN1 would burn more calories while people are resting. It means the body would store less fat without the need for a person to reduce food consumption or exercise more.”