In a strategy dubbed molecular liposuction, researchers have created a drug that homes in on and destroys the blood vessels that sustain fat cells. Severely obese mice treated with the compound quickly shed fat until they reached normal weights, according to a report in the June Nature Medicine.
The new work follows up on similar findings reported in 2002. Then, Maria Rupnick of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that drugs designed to starve tumors by thwarting new blood vessel formation, or angiogenesis, also cause dramatic weight loss in obese mice. The drugs apparently have this effect because growing fat is particularly dependent on new blood vessels (SN: 8/3/02, p. 67: Fat Chance: Cancer drugs may also thwart obesity).