Rotund rodents shed pounds with new vaccine

Researchers at Braasch Biotech seeking an obesity vaccine for humans achieved promising results in a study using mice. They found that chubby mice quickly shed 10% of their body weight when injected with modified somatostatin, a peptide hormone.

The scientists fattened up the mice over the course of 8 weeks and right through the 6-week study. The mice received a dose of the vaccines--two somatostatin vaccinations, JH17 and JH18--at the beginning of the study and on day 22. The vaccines lead to production of antibodies to somatostatin--a hormone peptide that blocks activity of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1)--in order to boost energy use and burn fat. Four days after the first vaccine injections, the overweight mice dropped 10% of their body weight without negative effects on growth hormone, IGF-1 or insulin levels, according to a release.

"This study demonstrates the possibility of treating obesity with vaccination," said Keith Haffer, a scientist at Braasch Biotech, in a statement. "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."

A juggernaut of hype will surely follow the release of a vaccine to combat obesity, a common cause for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, but animal testing only preludes the years of human clinical trials ahead.

- read the release

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