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Obesity has become a major global epidemic, and it’s accompanied by many health complications, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, and cancer. Available treatments for obesity involve surgery or pharmacotherapy. Both are invasive and can have adverse side effects, so they’re not very popular. The good news is that nanotechnology has the potential to provide less invasive methods for treating obesity and its related conditions.

According to a recent study published in Biomaterials, Columbia Engineering and Columbia University Irving Medical Center researchers may have found a way to treat visceral fat — the type of fat that’s located in the abdomen and around internal organs. Their new strategy uses cationic nanomaterials to target specific locations of fat and modify it rather than destroying it, as in liposuction.

The team developed a nanoparticle drug-delivery system that enables the particles to accumulate in fatty tissue. They used a combination of two drugs that promote the transformation of white “adipose” cells into brown ones, which burn fat instead of storing it. Normally, these drugs are given as pills or injections and spread throughout the body. The advantage of the new system is that it targets only fatty tissues. It also allows the drugs to be administered at a lower dose than would otherwise be possible.

In tests in mice, the team found that the new delivery system works well. The animals lost 10 percent of their body weight, and their cholesterol and triglyceride levels improved. The team is now working to improve the technology so that it can be used on humans.

    By admin