An injection that aids weight loss of more than a stone in a month has reportedly been developed by British researchers. The jab mimics the effects of a gastric band and the breakthrough is being hailed as “the most exciting” obesity treatment yet.
The breakthrough, labelled by the scientists at Imperial College London as ‘the most exciting’ treatment yet for tackling obesity, is now on trial in humans. Tests have so far found that patients naturally ate 30 per cent less food after they were treated with the hormone injection which works in a similar way to a gastric band.
Recent results were encouraging — the injection proved so successful in some patients with diabetes that they were able to come off their medication, according to scientists.
Research involved 20 patients who took three hormones through a patch and a pump for 28 days. Each participant lost between 1.8kg and 8kg – making the treatment almost as effective as gastric banding, a weight loss operation.
Traditional methods of weight loss include gastric banding, which was initially believed that gastric band surgery worked by reducing the amount of food held in the stomach. However, patients who underwent gastric band surgery were also found to have increased satiety hormones, the chemical signals which are released to control digestion and pangs of hunger. The hormones may also be linked to altered cravings as gastric band patients began to crave less fatty foods.
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Professor Sir Steve Bloom, lead researcher and head of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism at Imperial, said the findings gave hope for creating a therapy in five years that could be as effective in promoting weight loss as surgery.
To create the jab, researchers reproduced the satiety hormones without surgery. Professor Tricia Tan, a consultant in diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic medicine, who formulated the hormones, said that while wearing the pump (that delivers the medicine), you feel less hungry and you stop eating earlier.
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One 38-year-old participant in the trial said he had had an ‘instant reaction’ to the hormones and that it made sweet food less attractive. The sensation is like after you have eaten a big meal and you feel really full.
Until this comes onto the market for the rest of us, we are keeping our fingers crossed and watching this space with anticipation. Right now, the options for those who seek to shed some extra pounds include certain prescription weight loss medications, non-invasive Coolshape treatments to target focused area of fat, and Exilis Body Magic to sculpt flabby regions. “With an additional tool in our fat loss armamentarium, we will soon be able to help our patients achieve their ideal body weight and shape in no time” says Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of SW1 Clinic and who formerly graduated from King’s College in London.