A Study Of Cancer Drugs May Have Uncovered Ways To Curb Obesity


While just what obesity means to public health is an ongoing debate, there’s no question that our society’s collective weight gain is a problem. And yet, the idea of a magic pill that makes us skinny has been — historically speaking — little more than snake oil.

Now, it turns out, there might have been one out there for awhile now. We’ve just been using it for another job entirely.

The Mayo Clinic was researching the effect of chemotherapy drugs methotrexate and cyclophosphamidem when the subjects, in this case mice, were obese. It’s a reasonable question, as obesity can be a factor in any medical scenario. But the results took them by surprise: The mice saw no loss in appetite, but in addition to fighting their tumors, the mice shed excess fat, as well. It turns out that the two drugs make it harder for the body to store fat in the first place while still maintaining proper function elsewhere, so even if you hit Old Country Buffet morning noon and night, your body won’t have any place to put the fat.

That said, you probably don’t want to take this stuff if you don’t have cancer or an autoimmune disease. Both suppress the immune system, and have a range of unpleasant side effects. But what this does offer is an insight into how to better manipulate the body’s metabolic function. It appears increasingly clear that serious, long-term weight loss involves fighting your body’s insistence you need that weight back, and being able to shut down that metabolic war would be a boon to everyone on a treadmill.

Still, it’s just the start of this research, so for now, we’re still going to be eating salad and working out.

(via New Atlas)