The world first research confirmed that changes in the hair growth cycle led to fluctuations in the thickness of the underlying fat layer of the skin - essentially meaning that the skin can regulate fat production, researchers said.

The research led by Professor Fiona Watt at King's College London and Professor of Dermatology Rodney Sinclair from the University of Melbourne could potentially be used both as a means to replace fat lost in scar tissue or as a localised treatment for obesity.

"The specific chemicals identified in this study could be produced synthetically and used in creams for topical application to the skin to modulate growth of fat beneath the skin," Sinclair said.

"A cream could trim fat specifically where it was applied by 'pausing' the production of factors that contribute to fat cell growth," he said.

The effect of changes in the fat tissue on the synchronised patterns of hair follicle growth has long been established.

"This is the first demonstration that the opposite also holds true in that the skin below the hair follicle can regulate the development of fat," Sinclair said.

This discovery could also affect future treatment of obesity, male and female pattern baldness and alopecia – male and female baldness - an autoimmune condition that affects one to two per cent of the general population at some stage in their life.

Indian scientist develops potential non-insulin diabetes drug
    
New York: A young Indian scientist has developed a potential non-insulin drug candidate for diabetic patients that can help eliminate the risk of low-blood glucose shock in case of an insulin overdose.

Arnab De, a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Columbia University here, has developed the non-insulin drug candidate in collaboration with Richard DiMarchi of Indiana University.

Patients use insulin to keep their sugar levels in check, an overdose of insulin can lead to low blood-glucose (hypoglycemia), which may cause diabetic-coma and be life-threatening. Insulin treatment has also been reported to cause weight-gain that may exacerbate a diabetic condition, De said.

"We find that there is a peptide hormone in the gut called GLP1 that increases the secretion of insulin only when the  blood glucose is high. This effectively eliminates the risk ofhypoglycemic shock. Another advantage is that GLP1 administration has been found to stimulate weight-loss.

The hormone offers the promise of revolutionising the treatment of Type II  diabetes and reduce obesity," he said.  

Regarding the clinical trial of the new drug, De said that GLP-1 has an extremely short half-life of two minutes and this instability has impeded its effective use in patients.

As per to a study published in the journal Peptide Science, De and DiMarchi "envisioned a prodrug of GLP as a means to extend the duration of action" and their research resulted in several range of options for prolonging peptide action to once-a-day and once-a-week formulations.

"Needless to say, this will be very helpful for patients as we might have a formulation that needs to be taken only once a week as opposed to after every meal" De said.

University of Delhi faculty member Subho Mozumdar said the development of a GLP-1 based prodrug represents a patient-friendly, diabetic therapeutic.

"It is a most remarkable  breakthrough which might also help to defend against obesity and  perhaps against Alzheimer's disease too. There is a huge market for such a therapeutic in India given the growing number of patients," Mozumdar said.

As per estimates by The International Diabetes Federation, around one in five individuals suffer from some form of obesity. These individuals are three times more prone to heart attacks or stroke and five times more likely to develop adult-onset of diabetes vis-a-vis individuals without the
syndrome.

Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC) has applied for patents internationally on these prodrugs in the world-wide market.

De has been conferred the prestigious Young Investigator’s Award by American Peptide Society. "I hope going forward this drug essentially helps people. That is when the years of hard work and research will pay off," he added.

(Agencies)

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