Back in 2009, U of Michigan researcher Dr. Alan Saltiel published a study indicating that the genes IKKE and TBK1 have a major impact on metabolic balance and obesity.

His research indicated that when someone cuts calories in an attempt to lose weight, IKKE and TBK1 become active and “act together as a sort of brake on metabolism.”

  • You want to lose weight
  • You go on a diet
  • You cut calories
  • IKKE and TBK1 become active
  • Your metabolism slows down
  • Weight loss stops
  • You get frustrated…
  • Eat a box of Krispy Kremes
  • And gain back all that body fat

Based on his thesis, Dr. Saltiel went searching for compounds that…

  • would inhibit the expression of IKKE and TBK1
  • prevent reduced-calorie metabolism slowdown
  • help calorie-counting dieters lose weight

Using high-throughput chemical screening, the researchers came upon an approved off-patent drug – AmlexanoxCurrently, amlexanox is being used to treat canker sores in the US  and asthma in Japan for the past 25 years.

Here Comes the New Research

After discovering that amlexanox may be a cure to the IKKE and TBK1 weight loss dilemma , Dr. Saltiel organized a study of the effectiveness of amlexanox as a weight-loss drug on a group of lab mice.

Credit: Shannon Reilly
Credit: Shannon Reilly

Here’s what they found…

Treatment of obese mice with amlexanox…

  • elevated energy expenditure (caloric burn)
  • through increased thermogenesis (heat production),
  • producing weight loss,
  • improved insulin sensitivity (lowering risk of type 2 diabetes)
  • and decreased steatosis (fatty liver).

As if that wasn’t enough: Because of its record of safety in patients, amlexanox may be an interesting candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

amlexanox-graph-1

Conclusion: Because of its record of safety in patients, Dr. Saltiel believes that amlexanox may be an interesting candidate for clinical evaluation in the treatment of obesity and related disorders.

What’s Next?

As it stands right now, Dr. Saltiel doesn’t know “if humans respond with the same pathway, or if the discovery of amlexanox’s effectiveness in mice can lead to a compound that is safe and effective for treating obesity and diabetes in humans.

To find out, Saltiel is…

  1. Teaming up with clinical-trial specialists at U-M to test whether amlexanox will be useful for treating obesity and diabetes in humans.
  2. Working with medicinal chemists at U-M to develop a new compound based on the drug that optimizes its formula.

Fingers crossed people. If we’re lucky, this canker cure could cure corpulence (aka obesity).

Reference