NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS Local) – A failed experiment may have accidentally created a new treatment that could allow humans to eat whatever they want without gaining weight.
Researchers at Yale University were reportedly trying to create morbidly obese mice by feeding them a high-fat diet, however, a pair of missing genes kept that from happening. “We created a mouse that eats fat but doesn’t get fat,” cardiology professor Anne Eichmann said in a university release.
Scientists discovered that editing out two genes in the mice “zipped up” specialized vessels in the lymphatic tissue, preventing fat particles from being absorbed by the body. After removing the two genes (NRP1 and VEGF) in mice, the Yale team is now working on seeing if these fat receptors can be switched off in humans.
Eichmann says a drug is already available that targets VEGF, but that medication is used to treat eye conditions like glaucoma. “We found that such drugs also close the pores of the lymphatic vessels in the gut and inhibit fat uptake” Eichmann told Wired. “They could be tested in humans for lipid lowering effects.”
Researchers looking at Yale’s experiment, which was published in the journal Science, believe a fat-blocking pill could be developed which will allow people to eat without worrying about packing on the pounds.