Scientists have accidentally discovered a drug that could let you eat as much as you want without gaining weight.
The team at Yale University were actually trying to create a morbidly obese mouse, but instead, they managed to create one that eats but doesn’t get fat.
During their experiment they edited out two genes, thinking it would make the mice fat.
But despite eating a high-fat diet the mice actually stayed skinny.
After noticing the surprising development, the team, led by cardiology professor Anne Eichmann and associate research scientist Feng Zang, decided to investigate why.
Their findings could pave the way for a new drug that helps combat the obesity crisis.
They discovered editing out the two key genes, “zipped up” specialized vessels in the lymphatic system — the network of vessels in the body that forms part of the immune system.
The change helped stop the body store fat.
Instead of turning lipids in the diet into fat the genetically-modified mice expelled the lipids and didn’t gain weight.
The “failure,” published in the journal Science, posed the question: Could this be done in humans?
So far experts have only been able to switch the genes off in rodents, but that doesn’t mean that with further research it won’t be available for people.
For now, instead of editing our genes, they looked at ways they could turn off the receptors, called NRP1 and VEGFR, to trigger the same effect.
It turns out a drug already exists for that purpose, but is currently used to treat the eye condition 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.”
But it will be some time before we see the drugs available as a weight loss technique for humans.
Being overweight significantly increases your risk of obesity-related disease including heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and 11 different types of cancer.
Heart disease was the biggest killer in 2016 followed by stroke, both of which were responsible for 15 million deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
They have been the leading cause of death worldwide for the last 15 years, the organization said.