'Obesity gene' could be key to new therapy

The quest for a new obesity drug took a big step forward with new research from Germany demonstrating how a drug that knocks out the FTO 'obesity gene' could help slim down the world's growing population of obese patients.

Scientists already knew that the FTO gene could add 6.6 pounds to the average frame. Knocking out that gene in mice allowed them to burn calories at a faster pace. And the researchers found that the mice that were engineered without the FTO gene had higher levels of adrenaline.

"These animals are eating as much as the control animals but burning calories through a non-exercise mediated pathway," said one expert, Dr. Stuart Weiss, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine. But Weiss also concedes that the researchers don't know exactly why the process was taking place,

By the age of six weeks, according to the study, the knock-out mice weighed 30 to 40 percent less than the 'normal' mice in the control group.

- read the report from Forbes