Obesity and diabetes cure? CRISPR might be used to ‘silence’ key gene found in unhealthy fat


The gene FABP4 is highly active in adipose tissue and known to be a major contributor to obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes. Researchers at Hanyang University in Seoul have developed a way to silence the gene using a type of gene-editing technology called CRISPR interference.

When the researchers inhibited FABP4 in white adipose tissue—commonly known as the unhealthy white fat—they observed a reduction in lipid storage.

Then they tried it in mice that had been fed a high-fat diet, injecting them twice a week with the CRISPR interference system. The mice lost 20% of their body weight and showed reductions in inflammation and insulin resistance, the team reported in the journal Genome Research.

Related article:  When genetic engineering is the environmentally friendly choice

Researchers continue to look for weight-loss strategies that might be more effective than the current slate of FDA-approved drugs. Those products—Eisai’s Belviq, Nalpropion’s Contrave and Vivus’ Qsymia—have only been shown to reduce body weight by a small percentage.

The Hanyang University team is planning further studies to determine how best to translate their gene therapy to people with obesity. They believe that similar “precision gene-editing technology” could be used to treat other diseases.

Read full, original post: Could gene therapy be the solution to obesity and diabetes?

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