Over the last century, we’ve watched a slew of weight loss devices come and go. From the vibrating belt machines of the 1950s to CoolSculpting, the latest fad to sweep medical spas, but new weight loss technology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Columbia University might soon become the new reigning trend. Researchers have created a microneedle patch covered with nanoparticles that can convert white fat into brown fat, making it easier and faster for someone to lose weight.
The nanoparticles are made up of a common biocompatible polymer, PLGA (poly lactic-co-glycolic acid) and dibenzazepine, a drug which intercepts the cellular pathway where fat cells become either brown or white. Brown fat cells burn away at a quicker rate than white cells, which pile up and stay stored in our bodies. White fat cells are located in the hips, thighs, and waist, whereas brown cells are based around the neck and shoulders.
According to researchers, the patch delivers the “fat-browning” drug to the fat cells, but doesn’t penetrate beneath the tissue. When tested on mice, they observed a 20 percent fat reduction. The mice also experienced lower blood glucose levels.
“Many people will no doubt be excited to learn that we may be able to offer a noninvasive alternative to liposuction for reducing love handles,” Li Qiang, assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center told Medgadget. “What’s much more important is that our patch may provide a safe and effective means of treating obesity and related metabolic disorders such as diabetes.”