IU researchers cure obesity, diabetes in lab animals



IU-Bloomington researchers have essentially cured lab animals of obesity, diabetes and associated lipid abnormalities as a step toward curing the same in human adults.

IU researchers and the German Research Center for Environmental Health were the entities behind the preclinical trials, according to a University press release.

The new peptide, or the molecular integration of three gastrointestinal hormones, effectively lowered blood sugar levels, as well as reduced body fat beyond all existing drugs during preclinical trials, according to the work co-led by IU Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Richard DiMarchi and Matthias Tschöp, director of the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity at the German Research Center for Environmental Health.

The results of the preclinical trial progressed the clinical work the same team announced last year that a peptide combining the properties of two endocrine hormones was an effective treatment for adult-onset diabetes, according to the University.

“This triple hormone effect in a single molecule shows results never achieved before,” said co-first author Brian Finan, a scientist at the Helmholtz Diabetes Center who earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at IU in ?DiMarchi’s lab, in the release. “A number of metabolic control centers are influenced simultaneously, namely in the pancreas, liver, fat depots and brain.”

The researchers found body weight in rodents could be reduced by about 30 percent when constructing the new single-cell molecules with triple-hormone action, according to the release. It’s about twice as much as the GLP-1/GIP double hormone.

“This peptide represents the first rationally designed, fully potent and balanced triple agonist ever achieved in the treatment of any disease,” DiMarchi said in the release. “The benefits of the previously reported individual co-agonists have been integrated to a single molecule of triple action that provides unprecedented efficacy to lower body weight and control ?metabolism.”

The team described the new test results as “unparalleled” in the paper when compared to earlier tests using the three hormones separately and together as co-agonists, according to the release.

Human clinical trials are being managed by Roche, which also co-authored the new paper. IU Research and Technology Corp. licensed the inventions associated with the work to Marcadia Biotech Inc., according to the ?University.

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