Teaching an Old Drug New Tricks
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – It’s great finding a new purpose for old things, especially when it comes to medicine.
According to a new study, a drug used to treat asthma and canker sores may also help to treat diabetes and obesity.
In the study genetic and dietary-induced obese mice were given the drug amlexanox, different forms of which are used to treat asthma and canker sores. After taking the medication the mice began to lose weight and metabolic problems associated with obesity such as diabetes and fatty liver began to improve.
"Amlexanox seems to tweak the metabolic response to excessive calorie storage in mice,” Alan Saltiel, the Mary Sue Coleman director of the Life Sciences Institute was quoted as saying.
Why exactly this drug aids weight loss and reverses metabolic problems has to do with two genes, IKKE and TBK1. Expression of these genes can cause individuals’ metabolisms to slow down, leading to obesity and other weight-related health problems. The link between the two genes and obesity was first discovered by Saltiel in 2009.
Attempting to find something that would inhibit IKKE and TBK1, Saltiel came across amlexanox and found his answer.
"By releasing the brake, amlexanox seems to free the metabolic system to burn more, and possibly store less, energy,” Saltiel was quoted as saying.
But don’t get too excited about losing weight with amlexanox just yet. It still needs to be seen if the drug will have the same effect on obese and diabetic humans as it did on the study mice.
Source: Nature Medicine, February 2013