Experimental Drug Burns Fat Even on a High-Fat Diet

A team of French scientists has said that they have discovered a fat burning drug that "tricks the body into burning off fat," even while on a high fat diet. The drug, called SRT1720 has so far only been successfully tested on mice by a team of scientists at the University of Louis Pasteur.

A report in this month's journal Cell Metabolism said mice that were given a daily dose of this drug for three months did not show any weight gain even if they were on a high fat diet. Lower doses of the drug though did not report as much success. The experimental drug SRT1720 doesn't have a brand name yet, and is a chemical cousin of resveratrol, the red wine extract that combats aging and promotes heart health.

It works by targeting the SIRTI gene which boosts the mice's fat metabolism to a fat burning mode that normally steps in when the energy levels are low. The mice also increased their strength and endurance while they were on the higher dose of the drug and did not develop insulin resistance, which is a side effect that precedes type 2 diabetes. Low doses of the drug given over a course of 10 weeks protected mice on a high fat diet from gaining weight while with higher doses of the drug mice gained no weight whatsoever.

No side effects were seen in the mice such as excessive activity, picky eating or digestive disorders while they were on the drug. Further studies would however be needed before the drug could be tested on humans however.

Jerome Feige of France's Institut de Genetique et de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire said the drug was a "prime candidate" for research on SIRT1 treatment for metabolic disorders.

Several employees of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, a GlaxoSmithKline company that is developing SRT1720, also worked on the study.