In laboratory trials, a new drug patch has shown promise to convert energy-storing fats into energy-burning fats in human physiology. The new approach involves delivering drugs via a micro-needle patch to reduce bulging tummy fats.

Developed by scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, the new approach carried out on mice that were on a high fat diet resulted in reduced weight gain and reduced fat mass by over 30 percent in a period of four weeks.

Physical Contact with Skin Required to Transfer Drug from Patch

The innovative skin patch comprises several hundred micro-needles, each of which is slender than a strand of human hair, and is filled with the drug thyroid hormone T3 triiodothyronine or receptor agonist Beta-3 adrenergic.

The patch when pressed on the skin for two minutes, leads to embedding of the micro-needles on the skin and getting detached from the patch, following which the contact of patch on the skin is not required.

As the needles degenerate, the drug molecules seep into white fat beneath the skin layer, to convert them into brown fats. Brown fats are present in babies so as to keep the baby warm by using stored energy. With age, the amount of brown fats in humans lessen and are substituted with visceral white fats.

The new approach published in a scientific journal Small Methods could address the obesity problem globally without the need for surgical intervention or oral medication that may be required in large dosage and may have serious side effects. Coming back on the new approach carried out on mice, the fat surrounding microneedles started to turn brown in five days, and thus helped to increase the amount of energy available to be used.