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columbus-based obgenex is developing effective treatment for obesity

The statistics for obesity in the United States are staggering.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is common, serious and costly -- more than one-third of adults (35.7 percent) and approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer.

Matthew During, Ph.D., founder of Obgenex, is well aware of these sobering statistics.  The professor and full-time researcher at The Ohio State University is working to develop an effective treatment for obesity.

“When investigating environmental manipulation to control cancer, we discovered that so-called enriched environments reduced body fat and made animals resistant to obesity," During explains. "We then discovered the molecular pathways in the brain that made these animals obesity resistant.”

That led to developing the Obgenex treatment. “Our product will be the first biological and neurosurgical therapy for obesity,” he notes. “We essentially reset that part of the brain that regulates appetite and metabolism.”

Obgenex recently received a grant of $100,000 from Ohio Third Frontier to conduct a proof-of-concept study. “The study will take six to 12 months and will demonstrate efficacy and safety, which means effective weight loss with no adverse events,” During says. He is using a specific type of mice in the study. “They have an identical mutation that is found in the subgroup of human subjects who we plan to enroll in our Phase I clinical trial.”

The successful completion of the study is necessary for FDA approval to move forward on clinical trials with humans and will be used to lure investors to fund larger scale trials.  The technology will be licensed from The Ohio State University.

Source:  Matthew During
Writer:  Lynne Meyer
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