'Brown Fat' Shots Could Beat Obesity
Scientists convert mouse cells into energy-burning fat
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2010 5:27 AM CST
"Given that obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other metabolic disease, finding new ways to reduce body weight is really essential," the researchers said.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Scientists looking into ways to fight fat with fat say they've made a breakthrough that could yield effective treatments for obesity. Researchers experimenting on obese mice believe they've found a way to turn white fat cells into energy-burning brown fat cells, io9 reports. Converted cell cultures injected into the mice turned into mature brown fat cells, and researchers believe the results can be replicated in humans if the necessary progenitor cells can be identified.

"Diet and exercise are still the best approaches for losing weight in the general population, but for people who are genetically predisposed to obesity, or those who already develop detrimental metabolic disorders due to excess body weight, there is an urgent need to develop new interventions for effective and safe weight reduction," the lead researcher says. "These results appear to take a significant step toward using brown fat cells in such therapies."