Obesity Vaccine Success

A biotech company is developing a vaccine that promotes weight loss in mice.

By | July 9, 2012

image: Obesity Vaccine Success Flickr creative commons, .:[ Melissa ]:.


Two obesity vaccines that target somatostatin, a hormone that can promote weight gain, were shown to reduce body weight of obese mice by 10 percent, according to a new study in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, an open-access publication.

The sole author on the paper, Keith Haffer from Braasch Biotech in South Dakota, injected mice fed an obesity-inducing diet with two vaccine candidates designed to produce antibodies against somatostatin.  Reducing somatostatin levels is thought to help increase the amount of two other hormones—growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor—that promote weight loss.

“Although further studies are necessary to discover the long-term implications of these vaccines, treatment of human obesity with vaccination would provide physicians with a drug- and surgical- free option against the weight epidemic,” Haffer said in a press release.


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Avatar of: olmstedhomested


Posts: 4

July 9, 2012

Three problems with the obesity vaccine. First: it's not a vaccine. Obesity is not a disease that can be treated like a virus or bacteria infection. Second: The overwhelming majority of obesity is self inflicted; so until a "responsibility" "vaccine" can be developed ... Third: 10 percent? Please...call me in the morning when it can reduce it by 25 or 50%. That would be a success

Avatar of: RKineman


Posts: 1

July 10, 2012

I believe The Scientist was very irresponsible in promoting this report as the “next new thing in weight lossâ€쳌.  The study was not properly controlled and the data misinterpreted.   Diet-induced obese mice were injected with adjuvant containing proteins extracted from E.Coli expressing somatostatin, where the purity of these extracts was not reported and a reference given for “patent pendingâ€쳌. Treatment did cause rapid weight loss (4g/4days) BUT this was followed by a steady increase in weight, where the rate matched that of the control group (which was only injected with a buffer solution).  The controls should have been
injected with the adjuvant and E. Coli extracts from clones not expressing somatostatin.  Therefore the weight loss observed was likely due only to the nonspecific immune response mounted to combat the injection of foreign proteins.   The authors speculate that immunizing against somatostatin would increase growth hormone (GH) levels which is considered lipolytic and anti-lipogenic.  However, there was no evidence of a rise in GH.   In addition, it should be noted that somatostatin not only inhibits GH secretion but regulates adrenal function, pancreatic function (exocrine and endocrine), as well as gut motility and function.  Therefore long term blockade of somatostatin would impact many major systems important in metabolic homeostasis.  I sincerely hope, in the future, The Scientist will be more careful in screening articles it promotes, in order to avoid misinformation getting into the popular press.
Rhonda D. Kineman, PhD
Faculty Member F1000

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