Clinical trial at Hammersmith Hospital shows new hormone injection aids weight loss in obese patients
The findings of a small study involving diabetic patients from Hammersmith Hospital has found that an injection has helped reduce body weight and glucose levels in patients with diabetes and obesity in four weeks.
Patients on the trial lost on average 4.4kg of weight and the treatment led to substantial improvements to their blood glucose, with some patients’ reducing to near-normal levels.
Obesity is a common problem in the UK and it is estimated that one in four adults are obese. One of the most common types of weight loss surgery is a procedure known as gastric bypass surgery, which can be very effective in keeping excess weight off and improving blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Previous research by Imperial College London suggested that one of the reasons why gastric bypass surgery works so well is because three specific hormones originating from the bowels are released in higher levels. This hormone combination, called ‘GOP’ for short, reduces appetite, causes weight loss and improves the body’s ability to use the sugar absorbed from eating.
Fifteen patients were given the GOP treatment for four weeks using a pump that slowly injects the GOP mixture under the skin for 12 hours a day, beginning one hour before breakfast and disconnecting after their last meal of the day. Patients also received dietetic advice on healthy eating and weight loss from a dietician.
Professor Tricia Tan, consultant in metabolic medicine and endocrinology and lead author of the study, said: "Obesity and type 2 diabetes can lead to very serious and potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease. There is a real need to find new medicines so we can improve and save the lives of many patients. Although this is a small study, our new combination hormone treatment is promising and has shown significant improvements in patients’ health."
The team aim to carry out a larger clinical trial to assess the impact of GOP on more patients over a longer period of time.
The research was funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.
This research is an example of the work carried out by Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, a joint initiative between Imperial College London and three NHS hospital trusts including Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. It aims to transform healthcare by turning scientific discoveries into medical advances to benefit local, national and global populations in as fast a timeframe as possible.