SIDEBAR: Unraveling The Biochemistry Of Fat Metabolism

Following research on obesity is a little like ordering ^È la carte. Current studies offer at least five weight-related genes, three brain proteins, and a half-dozen mutations. During the past six years, academic and industry researchers have blended these ingredients into at least 11 anti-obesity drugs now in development.

Scientists hope to craft drugs that will travel the trail blazed by Redux (dexfenfluramine), the first weight-loss drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in more than two decades. After 20 years on the market in Europe, Redux-developed by Lexington, Mass.-based Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. -- got FDA's go-ahead this spring.

Elizabeth Sugg
'MAJOR CHALLENGE': Glaxo Wellcome's Elizabeth Sugg sought an obesity drug that could be taken orally.
Today's anti-obesity research focuses on proteins that pass to and from the hypothalamus, the brain's feeding center. Like traveling a train route, these proteins chug along...

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