OBERSCHLEIßHEIM, Germany, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A research team in Germany has developed a "smart drug" that clears the liver of fat and prevents blood vessels from clogging.
The drug was developed by scientists from Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technische Universität München. A study on its effectiveness was published in the medical journal Cell. The authors say the drug's development is part of an effort to reverse growing obesity rates.
The drug enters the liver by using the pancreatic hormone glucagon to transport thyroid hormone T3. By using this method, the hormone is kept away from other organs, allowing it to improve cholesterol and lipid metabolism while avoiding the typical side effects associated with it.
"While the ability of T3 to lower cholesterol is known for centuries, deleterious effects, in particular on the skeleton and the cardiovascular system, do so far limit its medicinal utility," author Brian Finan explained in a press release.
During the study, the effects of the drug were tested using metabolically compromised mice. By directing the T3 to the liver, adverse affects were spared from the cardiovascular system in the mouse models. Researchers observed an overall drop in body weight and cholesterol.
"The next task is to see whether this drug candidate will reach the same level of targeted tissue-selectivity in clinical studies," Richard DiMarchi added.