Scientists On The Way To Develop Drug That Shrinks Fat Cells

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Drug Shrinks Fat Cells

Overweight and obesity aren’t just about a dress size, but all the risks that come with excess weight. Heart disease, some types of cancer, joint pain, severe menopause symptoms, premature death are just some of many risks associated with carrying more weight than is considered healthy.

Weight loss is possible with lifestyle adjustments including regular physical activity and well-balanced diet. Most people struggle with diet changes, but in the near future, that won’t be necessary as new study paved the way for the development of a drug that shrinks fat cells.

Shrinking Fat Cells – How?

A team of scientists led by Stanley Watowich at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) carried out a study which showed that small molecules that block NNMT (nicotinamide-N-methyltransferase) can cause fat cells to shrink. The idea for the study stemmed from the ever-growing need for the development of drugs that will reduce the burden of obesity and health consequences associated with it.

For the purpose of the study, scientists put an emphasis on inhibition of NNMT mainly because this enzyme participates in slowing fat cells metabolism. They tested the inhibitor of NNMT on mice who were fed high-fat diet. All mice were obese and consumed the same diet.

Results of the study were published in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology[1] and they revealed that mice that received NNMT inhibitor had a 30% reduction in white fat cells. In addition, their total weight decreased by 7% too.

NNMT inhibitor normalized blood cholesterol levels. What’s more, cholesterol levels of mice with NNMT inhibitor were comparable to those of healthy mice. On the other hand, animals that received placebo gained weight and experienced an increase in white fat cells. Their cholesterol levels worsened, as well.

What Comes Next?

Professor Watowich and his team made a significant discovery that will change the way obesity and metabolic conditions are treated. The discovery that inhibition of NNMT enzyme shrinks fat cells paves the way for the development of drugs that will help obese and overweight individuals slim down.

Scientists explained[2] that appetite suppression had no effect in this case. In other words, mice that received NNMT inhibitor lost weight because the action of this enzyme was suppressed, not because their diet and appetite were different than in mice from different groups.

Tape Measure Pills

The next step for Watowich and his team is to carry out a new study, but this time on human subjects. The goal is to suppress the activity of NNMT enzyme in humans and see whether the inhibitor will shrink their fat cells too. If results turn out to be positive, the development of a drug for obesity will be highly likely.

Not only can this help reduce the burden of overweight/obesity and metabolic conditions, but it will help obese individuals slim down in a safe manner. For obese persons, it can be difficult to change diet suddenly or to participate in the exercise. The use of a drug that shrinks their fat cells would help them kick-start their weight loss and protect their health.

Reasons To Lose Weight

  • Better sleep
  • Confidence boost
  • More energy
  • Prevention of arthritis and joint pain[3]
  • Heart health
  • Lower risk of severe menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats
  • Hormonal balance
  • Stronger sex drive
  • Stronger immune system


Scientists discovered that NNMT inhibitor shrinks fat cells, reduces total body weight, and regulates cholesterol levels. If human studies end with positive results, we could witness the development of a drug that will successfully help people slim down.

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Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed ()

This Article Has Been Published on January 10, 2018 and Last Modified on December 10, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain Shams University. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

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