SKIN PATCH COULD HELP YOU GET RID OF YOUR ‘LOVE HANDLES’
Got a bit of excess baggage around your mid-section you’d like to lose? Help may be on the way. A team at Columbia University has created a medicated skin patch that has successfully ‘melted’ excess fat in overweight mice.
We all have two kinds of fat – white and brown. White fat stores extra energy in large globular deposits, while brown fat is stored in smaller deposits and can be easily burned to produce heat. Babies have lots of brown fat to help keep them warm but as we age it is gradually lost.
“There are several clinically available drugs that promote browning, but all must be given as pills or injections,” said study coleader Dr Li Qiang. “This exposes the whole body to the drugs, which can lead to side effects such as stomach upset, weight gain and bone fractures. Our skin patch appears to alleviate these complications by delivering most drugs directly to fat tissue.”
The patches are covered in microscopic needles that deliver specially designed browning drugs directly to problem areas, where they gradually dissolve. Obese mice treated with the patches showed a 20 per cent reduction in fat and significantly reduced blood glucose levels.
The researchers are currently investigating the effectiveness of different combinations of drugs but hope to start human trials in the near future.
The drugs are enclosed into nanoparticles, each measuring 250nm (0.00025mm) in diameter, before being loaded into the needles