A KELMSCOTT researcher could be on the threshold of finding a new way to treat obesity and diabetes.
Working with mice that were fed a diet high in fat, lead researcher Vance Matthews and his team’s work into TNFSF14 found that the protein played a protective role in stopping the body from developing obesity and type 2 diabetes, describing it as the protein trying to “fight the first flames of the fire”.
“I personally knew that in humans, obesity correlated with elevated levels of circulating TNFSF14 in the body, however, the exact reason for this rise in TNFSF14 levels with increased body mass was still not known,” he said.
“We have discovered that TNFSF14 increases during obesity and type 2 diabetes to reduce weight gain and promote better control of glucose levels-It appears to be acting in a protective manner.
“We’ve also discovered that a lack of TNFSF14 can exacerbate chronic liver injury, inflammation and dysregulation of mitochondrial function in the liver.
“The ultimate hope is that TNFSF14 could give rise to an alternative to anti-obesity drugs which have not resulted in consistent and effective weight loss.”
With a $75,000 grant from Diabetes Research WA helping them, Mr Vance said the publication of their findings in the Immunology and Cell Biology journal came just in time for World Diabetes Day on November 14.
“Funding from Diabetes Research WA has a major positive impact on discovering potential treatments for humans with obesity or diabetes,” he said.
“The harsh reality is that without grants such as the $75,000 grant from DRWA, research will cease and this research potentially may positively impact the health of individuals with diabetes.”