Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A collaborative research team from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, co-led by Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics Associate Professor Ana Domingos, have developed a new weight-loss amphetamine that could potentially avoid the harmful side effects of traditional treatments.

© CireniaSketches

Obesity is a major health issue across the world and is implicated in many serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Despite being officially declared a chronic disease, there are very few long-lasting and cost-effective treatments for obesity. Historically, amphetamine (AMPH) class drugs have been some of the most popular anti-obesity drugs to be prescribed and are widely considered to be the most effective while also being among the cheapest to produce. They work in the brain to reduce appetite and increase locomotion or stamina. However, these drugs are also known for strongly activating the sympathetic nervous system, the peripheral part of the nervous system known to accelerate the heart rate, constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure. Consequently, they can present side effects such as dangerously increased heart rate and hypertension.  

A research team led by Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics Associate Professor Ana Domingos and Dr Gonçalo Bernardes (University of Cambridge) suspected that the cardiac side effects of amphetamines could originate in the brain. If this was the case, they hypothesised that if they could design a drug that did not pass the blood-brain barrier, they could avoid these unwanted outcomes, while perhaps retaining an anti-obesity action. In a new paper published in Cell Metabolism, the team have shown that the cardiac side effects of AMPH do indeed originate in the brain and have presented a modified amphetamine that does not enter the brain while avoiding its known side effects.

Read the full story on the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics website

Similar stories

Population-scale study highlights ongoing risk of COVID-19 in some cancer patients despite vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is effective in most cancer patients, but the level of protection against COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation and death offered by the vaccine is less than in the general population and vaccine effectiveness wanes more quickly.

New reporting guidelines developed to improve AI in healthcare settings

New reporting guidelines, jointly published in Nature Medicine and the BMJ by Oxford researchers, will ensure that early studies on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to treat real patients will give researchers the information needed to develop AI systems safely and effectively.

Major boost for Oxford’s mission to counter future pandemic threats

The Moh Family Foundation has given a substantial gift to support the work of Oxford University’s Pandemic Sciences Institute, greatly strengthening its ability to identify and counter future pandemic threats and ensure equitable access to treatments and vaccines around the world.

Three NHSBT research units launch at University of Oxford

The NIHR has awarded three new Blood and Transplant Research Units (BTRUs) to the University of Oxford.

Fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose provides stronger immunity boost than third dose, shows UK study

COVID-19 vaccines given as fourth doses in the UK offer excellent boosting immunity protection, according to the latest results from a nationwide NIHR-supported study.