November 04, 2008
New Drug Prevents Weight Gain In Mice

SRT1720 for your pet mouse that refuses to stop eating junk food.

A potential longevity-enhancing drug has passed its final animal testing challenge, pushing closer to reality the dream of all-purpose drugs against diseases of aging.

Mice given the new drug, called SRT1720, gorged on high-fat food for four months without gaining weight or developing diabetes, and ran twice as far on a treadmill as their control-group counterparts. Similar drugs are expected to follow down the pipeline.

SRT1720 targets the gene SIRT1 also targeted by resveratrol while being far more potent.

The drug's side effects aren't yet apparent, but resveratrol has proven safe in animals and anecdotally, at least in humans. Since SRT1720 works at doses 1000 times lower than resveratrol, said Lambert, it should prove even safer if effective.

Activation of SIRT1 appears to create some of the same benefits seen on calorie restriction diets.

The synthetic drug, called SRT1720, shifted the animals' metabolism into a mode normally seen only when they are calorie-deprived, reported Johan Auwerx, M.D., of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, and colleagues.

The agent directly activates the so-called SIRT1 pathway, which is believed to account for at least some of the beneficial effects of resveratrol, the health-giving component of red wine.

It would be hard to get a drug such as this approved to slow general aging. But fortunately the benefits against weight gain and insulin resistance mean the drug has very specific clinical benefits that make approval for disease treatment easier.

The drug called SRT1720, which acts through the protein SIRT1, enhances running endurance in exercised mice and protects the animals against weight gain and insulin resistance even when they eat a high-fat diet, the researchers report. The drug works by shifting the metabolism to a fat-burning mode that normally takes over only when energy levels are low.

The findings bolster the notion that SIRT1 may be a useful target in the fight again metabolic disorders, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. It also helps lay to rest a long-standing controversy in the scientific world over the metabolic benefits of the red wine ingredient known as resveratrol. Resveratrol also acts on SIRT1, but its influence on other metabolic actors had left room to question exactly how it works.

Once one of these SIRT1 activators get approved expect to see many people asking for a prescription even if they do not have one of the diseases it treats.

Resveratrol is available now. Whether SRT1720 or another drug which mimics resveratrol will it make it to market remains to be seen. If you want to buy something that might deliver this sort of benefit now resveratrol is the only game in town.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 November 04 09:53 PM  Aging Diet Resveratrol

Happycrow said at November 5, 2008 6:33 AM:

And the whole thing is just exciting as all hell.

(Says me, after the "Uh-oh, I've neglected myself" excursion to my scale last night. Me and that extra eight pounds would LOVE to try that out...)

Bob Badour said at November 5, 2008 7:15 AM:
protects the animals against weight gain and insulin resistance even when they eat a high-fat diet

Um, a high fat diet protects against weight gain and insulin resistance provided one eats few carbs. I would be happier if the test showed protection against weight gain and insulin resistance even when they eat a high-sugar high-calorie diet.

badgersdaughter said at November 5, 2008 11:56 AM:

Yeah, Bob, I wish that was true. I'm a 42-year-old woman who was on a low-carb diet to lose a significant amount of weight (it was that or a lap-band for me), and my 40-year-old brother was on the diet with me, and we were both diagnosed with insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes in the past two months. There is no other diabetes in our family and we were not brought up to indulge in junk food. So who knows what happened exactly and what we were or weren't protected against, eh.

Bob Badour said at November 5, 2008 2:56 PM:

I don't mean to seem insensitive. The sort of obesity that would make one even consider gastric surgery is cause enough for diabetes.

Faruq said at November 6, 2008 7:53 AM:

This drug will take many years to come to the market. Are there any drugs which either have a similar molecular structure or have the same effect,but can be bought already?

Stephen R said at November 6, 2008 1:30 PM:

Faruq -- Re-read the last paragraph: "Resveratrol is available now."

JeffC said at November 7, 2008 6:30 PM:


For your information.
Removal of the Duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) results in significant weight loss and the complete remission of Type II diabetes >95% of the time (no they don't know why it works as the gastric bypass surgery doesn't have similar remission rates for Type II diabetes)

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