The Imperial College from London is working on a drug that will increase the levels of the natural gut hormone that mimics the body's "feeling full”, decrease the appetite and tackle obesity that way.

Although the main idea is to develop a chewing gum since many obese people like to chew, the injectible treatment may be available first within next five to eight years.

Statistics regarding obesity and obesity-related deaths are devastating with one of five adults obese, soon to be one in three, and with 30000 deaths each year in England alone.

The hormone the scientists are working on is called pancreatic polypeptide (PP). The hormone is being produced by the body to ensure that eating does not run out of control. Their research results showed that some people may be producing more and some less levels of the hormone but it is thought that the levels of the PP hormone are drastically decreasing in the overweight people.

This is when the vicious circle starts; appetite increases, ability to resist foods decreases, weight increases, PP levels decrease which brings on more inability to resist foods and so on.

The British team received funding from the Wellcome Trust of 2.2 m pounds to continue with the research since some preliminary studies determined that the moderate doses of pancreatic polypeptide could decrease the amounts of food taken by 15% to 20%.

Besides developing a chewing gum, it is thought of the nasal spray as well.
Initial studies included a small group of 35 mildly overweight and healthy people to received injections of either PP or an inactive salt solution. Then they have been served a buffet and offered to eat as much as they wanted. They had an assignment to report how hungry they felt. Volunteers who received the PP treatment ate 15% and 25% less - than those volunteers who received the placebo.

The research will try to make a treatment that would cut down food intake by 5% to 10% and then control appetite with a small reduction of 1%.
Before the treatment proves beneficial and reaches the markets, health experts are still suggesting healthy diets and regular exercise as initial step to shedding pounds.