Anti-Obesity Vaccine Shows Positive Results

Obesity could be treatable with a vaccine designed to suppress an appetite-inducing hormone, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Porto in Portugal have developed a vaccine that fights obesity by suppressing the hormone ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant.

“An anti-ghrelin vaccine may become an alternate treatment for obesity, to be used in combination with diet and exercise,” said lead investigator Dr. Mariana Monteiro. In other words, this vaccine may someday be a viable alternative to weight loss surgery.

The vaccine, which was developed through the observation of its effects on lab rats, showed a decrease in food consumption and an increase in calorie burning in mice that received the treatment. The suppression of ghrelin, a hormone found in the gut, can lessen appetite while boosting metabolism, promoting weight loss. Weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, also suppresses ghrelin. This can, in part, explain the successful weight loss that most patients experience after having obesity surgery.

Lab mice that were given the vaccine also showed decreased levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY), which is responsible for increasing the appetite signals in the central nervous system.

The latest findings support a 2006 study performed by the Scripps Research Institute in California, in which researchers developed three different synthetic vaccines to target ghrelin. However, in the University of Porto study, the ghrelin vaccine was introduced in a noninfectious virus to promote an immune response in the rodents’ bodies. The results of both surveys showed that targeting and regulating ghrelin can help manage obesity. However, scientists note that research is still in the very early stages and should be regarded primarily as a proof of principle.


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One Response

  1. deborah

    I would love to be on the trial for this drug!! I have 4 stone to lose


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