A hormone found naturally in the gut is the basis of a new drug to tackle obesity to be developed through one of three inaugural awards under the Wellcome Trust’s Seeding Drug Discovery initiative. The drug is being developed by one of the world’s leading obesity experts, Professor Steve Bloom at Imperial College London’s Hammersmith Hospital campus.
Recent research by Professor Bloom and his team identified the role played by gut hormones in appetite control. These hormones are released when a person eats, acting as neurotransmitters to indicate to the brain to stop eating. In particular, the researchers are interested in pancreatic polypeptide (PP), which they believe may provide a solution to appetite suppression and is the most likely candidate for translating into a treatment.
With funding from the Seeding Drug Discovery initiative, Professor Bloom and colleague Dr Caroline Small hope to develop a synthetic form of PP that can be administered to patients.
If successful, the proposed research may lead to a treatment within five to eight years.
The Wellcome Trust’s Seeding Drug Discovery initiative aims to bridge the funding gap in early-stage drug discovery, assisting researchers to take forward projects in small molecule therapeutics that will be the springboard for further research and development by the biotech and pharmaceutical industry.