In a new development, a team of researchers at Touchstone Diabetes Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center have successfully employed CRISPR gene editing. This is to convert normally used storage fat cells into energy burning cells.
The phenomenon works like flip of a switch. In the energy burning pathway of fat cells, removing the brake by engineering a mutation disrupts the interaction between a single pair of protein, stated the lead of the study.
The research demonstrates that discharging this brake in fat cells can potentially help to make existing medication more effective.
The research is published in Genes and Development and co-sponsored by the National institutes of Health.
In fact, there lies tremendous interest in propelling the production of energy burning fat cells as a line of treatment against metabolic disorders such as diabetes, termed as pandemic before the pandemic.
Physiologically, two types of fat cells are present in individuals: white cells that serve as energy storage site and expand in size and number for those with obesity, and energy-burning beige and brown cells that burn excess energy to generate heat and add to the energy expenditure.
Furthermore, beneficial brown fat cells also provide protection against the development of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Individuals with obesity have much lesser beige and brown fat cells, explains the expert.
According to data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4% between 1999 and 2018, with considerable volume of this population developing diabetes subsequently.
Importantly, more than 30% of Americans are now diagnosed with diabetes, and another 18% of the population with diabetes remains undiagnosed or have prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Meanwhile, the price tag is overtly expensive as the cost of diagnosed diabetes care amounts to US$ 327 billion annually.