Gene Therapy Maybe the Key to Treating Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

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By : Suvarna Sheth

A team in Spain has managed to cure obesity and type 2 diabetes in mice using gene therapy.  Currently, available therapies are not designed for all obese, type 2 diabetes patients.

Researchers showed that a single administration of a viral vector carrying the fibroblast growth factor 21 gene resulted in genetic manipulation of the liver, adipose tissue or skeletal muscle to continuously produce the FGF21 protein.

This protein is a hormone secreted naturally by several organs that acts on many tissues for the maintenance of correct energy metabolism.

By encouraging FGF21 production through gene therapy, researchers found that mice lost weight and decreased insulin resistance, which causes the development of type 2 diabetes.

The study was published this week in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

The positive therapeutic effect was achieved without any side effects.  “Our study underscores the potential of FGF21 gene therapy to treat obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes,” the researchers underscored.