The generation of adipocytes (the precursors to fat cells) could be prevented by just suppressing the protein entirely with its beneficial properties being decreased. The protein, known as perixosome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARg), can actually turn on various genes related to obesity in the body.
This is the latest finding presented by the researchers at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) at the recent AACR Centennial Conference on Translational Cancer Medicine on November 7, 2007.
Obesity is a well known risk factor not only for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease but also for prostate, breast and colon cancer. Recent studies have also shown that a protein responsible for generating fat cells can also cause cancer.
The scientists figured out that if they could identify the gene targets of PPARg, they could open up new targets for drug development against a number of diseases, including obesity, diabetes and cancer.
Only a limited number of direct targets for PPARg have been identified so far. A number of new PPARg target genes which are connected to adipogenesis and insulin sensitivity have been identified by the scientists at the GIS. According to them, these direct targets when inhibited, could lead to a dramatic reduction of adipogenic potential.
The oral hypoglycemic drugs currently available can effectively treat Type II diabetes. But it could also cause bad sides effects including heart disease, liver toxicity and weight gain.
If new drugs can be developed to direct specifically those PPARg targets to regulate insulin sensitivity, then it is possible to provide a safer and more efficient therapeutic approach.