Discoveries made in the laboratories of Sanford-Burnham will, for the first time, advance to the clinical research stage involving human studies at the Florida Hospital – Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI). The research will focus on orexin, an appetite-inducing hormone produced in the brain, which appears to resolve obesity without requiring a reduction in food consumption or elevation in physical activity. This research exemplifies the translational research focus at Sanford-Burnham and the TRI – advancing science from laboratory bench to patient bedside. The studies will provide insight into individual responses and contribute to the development of personalized therapies for treating metabolic diseases – a focus area for both the TRI and Sanford-Burnham.
Appetite-suppressing drugs have traditionally been the basis of weight-loss treatments since obesity is thought to be caused by excessive energy intake and low physical activity. However, appetite suppressants can produce unacceptable side effects and, after the treatment ends, patients usually the weight they lost. Recent data indicate that orexin leads to weight loss by releasing excess energy as heat instead of storing it.