Don't miss the latest stories
Scientists Invent Fat-Burning Patch, Internet Can’t Wait To Become Test Subjects
By Yoon Sann Wong, 29 Dec 2017
A group of scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore has invented a fat-burning skin patch that has the internet very excited.
The patch contains hundreds of micro-needles, each thinner than a human hair, fueled with either drug Beta-3 adrenergic receptor agonist or drug thyroid hormone T3.
When the wearer presses the patch into the skin, these micro-needles get embedded into the skin and detach from the patch, which is removed. The micro-needles degrade to release the drug molecules that slowly diffuse to the energy-storing white fats, found just beneath the skin, and transform these into energy-burning brown fats.
Brown fats, commonly found in babies, keep toddlers warm and help burn energy. As humans grow, the amount of brown fats in the body lessens and gets replaced by white fats.
According to tests conducted by research fellow Dr Aung Than, the patches successfully reduced the fat mass in mice bred on a high-fat diet by more than 30 percent over three weeks. They were found to have lower blood cholesterol and fatty acids levels as opposed to untreated mice.
The team hopes that this breakthrough can help tackle the world’s obesity problem in the long run, and eradicate the need for surgical operations or oral medication, which can have severe side effects or require large doses.
“The amount of drugs we used in the patch is much less than those used in oral medication or an injected dose. This lowers the drug ingredient costs while our slow-release design minimises its side effects,” explained Assistant Professor Xu Chenjie.
“What we aim to develop is a painless patch that everyone could use easily, is unobtrusive and yet affordable,” remarked NTU Professor Chen Peng. “Most importantly, our solution aims to use a person’s own body fats to burn more energy, which is a natural process in babies.”
Since it’s possible to deliver the drug directly to the site in question, the chances of side effects occurring is reduced. The team estimates that the material cost for the prototype patch was S$5 (US$3.50).
While many biotechnology companies have expressed keen interest since the team’s paper was published, it will be another five to 10 years before the patch becomes commercially available.
In the meantime, it looks like the study won’t be short of any willing test subjects.
A post shared by SGAG (@sgagsg) on
[via Channel NewsAsia, main image via Shutterstock]
More related news
Also check out these recent news