Adam Reese, a biology major at the University of Delaware, presented research that promises to be a cure for obesity at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in San Diego California on April 23, 2012. The presentation was reviewed at the Eureka Alert web site on April 23, 2012.
Reese, graduate student Joyita Dutta, and Assistant Professor Anja Nohe found the trigger that determines what type of cell a stem cell will become in their investigation of ways to combat osteoporosis. The trigger is a protein called endoglin.
The amount of endoglin that resides on a stem cells surface determines what type of cell the stem cell will become. Reducing the amount of endoglin on a stem cells surface was found to increase the conversion of stem cells to bone tissue and reduce the number of fat cell produced.
The discovery was originally intended to reduce loss of bone mass from osteoporosis. The same results were found to be possible in the mechanism that turns stem cells into fat cells.
The researchers are presently seeking a way to block and manage the signaling pathway that determines what type of cell a stem cell will become.
This discovery is expected to lead to a real world working cure for obesity and osteoporosis.
A short film of Resse explaining his work can be seen here.
This discovery is fantastic news considering the fact that Alabama is one of the most obese states in the United States and the rate of obesity in Alabama is increasing for both young and old despite the best efforts of local and national programs to curb the epidemic of obesity.
Reese’s discovery portends to take the excuses and the problem of will or desire out of the obesity epidemic solution. Such a solution would not require diet or exercise to reduce the number of fat cells in a person’s body and could produce added benefits in directing stem cells to develop into cells that help restore some of the damage obesity has done to other parts of the body of an obese person.