Evening Standard UK 8 September 2008
An injection that cures obesity could be available within five years, leading scientists claimed today. Researchers at University College London are developing drugs to control a patient’s hormone levels and effectively stop them feeling hungry. The team made their breakthrough after they studied gastric band surgery and found the procedure altered levels of ghrelin – the so called “hunger hormone” – along with several other hormones related to glucose regulation. Now they hope to recreate the effect in a drug.
“Body weight is controlled by hormones in our gut, which affect how hungry we feel and are also linked to the brain’s pleasure centre,” said Dr Rachel Batterham, a Medical Research Council clinician scientist at University College London. She revealed the work at the British Association Festival of Science in Liverpool today.
“Weight control surgery affects these hormone levels, so we are now hoping to recreate those hormonal changes in treatments,” she added. The team are developing injections and nasal sprays that could change a patient’s hormonal balance, making him feel less hungry. Human trials of the injections have already begun.