Obesity study now recruiting

Researchers are ready to test on humans a drug showing dramatic results in mice

issue 19 | Fall 2013

The drug amlexanox, an asthma and canker sore medication, has been shown by U-M researcher Alan Saltiel, M.D., and colleagues, to inhibit two genes that play a role in metabolism and fat-burning in mice. The drug lowered the weight of obese mice and reversed related metabolic problems such as diabetes and fatty liver in both genetic and dietary-induced obese mice. These findings were published this past February in the journal Nature Medicine.

To determine if the drug may have the same effect on humans, Elif Oral, M.D., associate professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes (MEND), is seeking 10 people with type 2 diabetes or obesity and evidence of central obesity (belly fat) for phase I of a study.

The mouse on the left received amlexanox and was fed the same diet as the mouse on the right.

If the drug works in humans, according to Oral, "This would mean that there is a completely different drug available for people that has a completely different mechanism of action in the body. If this drug can address weight and diabetes — as well as inflammation — without causing major side effects, this would be a huge innovation!"