Protein discovery may hold answer for obesity sufferers

Researchers at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital have discovered a protein that may help prevent weight loss in cancer patients and form the basis of a treatment for severe obesity.

The protein, which controls appetite, leads to the extreme weight loss common in late stage cancer patients and often hastens death.

The Catholic Weekly reports that by preventing the loss of appetite, doctors could give patients the strength to survive treatment and improve chances of survival.

Garvan Institute's Neuroscience Research Program's Professor Herbert Herzog (pictured) said he and his team found the protein in the brain which "switches off" appetite.

"Our bodies send complex chemical signals to our brains, which interpret them and send back responses, in this case 'eat' or 'don't eat'," Prof Herzog said.

"Our research indicated that MIC-1 is a previously unrecognised molecule sending out a 'don't eat' signal to the brain."

Protein discovery may hold answer for obesity sufferers (Catholic Weekly 18/11/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney

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20 Nov 2007