Some dreams may come true; for fat people and inventors.
Scientists have always sought to find the pill that cures obesity and those of Britain are no exception. Currently, two thirds of the population can be described as obese.
The Wellcome Trust has decided to put a morbidly obese figure of 2.2 million pounds before Professor Steve Bloom and his team, of Imperial College London.
Bloom's quest is to create a chewing gum or nasal spray to allay hunger pangs, which can be, used for life and thereby curb obesity.
The scientist who had faced a dearth of funds for his project explains that the pancreas produces a chemical- a hormone pancreatic polypeptide (PP) that suppresses hunger pangs once the stomach is full.
Some people have pancreatic tumors and in this case more than required amounts of PP is produced, rendering the person chronically thin.
Says Bloom, "Developing a treatment based on natural appetite suppression, mimicking our body's response to being full, has the potential to be safe and effective. We believe pancreatic polypeptide may be the answer." His works were published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2003.
Early tests have shown moderate doses of the hormone pancreatic polypeptide (PP) can reduce the amount of food eaten by healthy volunteers by 15 to 20 per cent. Mice given the drug lost 15 per cent of their body weight in a week.
The hormone appears to have no side effects, which are crucial for a treatment that might be taken long-term. People with PP-secreting tumors who have lived with high levels of the hormone for more than a decade suffer no ill effects other than being thin.
Beating other fat reducing methods like drugs whose effects are not permanent and bariatric surgery, which is risky, a chewing gum that helps reduce weight may be the best answer to Britain's expanding figures of obesity.
For Bloom who was turned down by probable sponsor pharmaceutical companies, as hormones cannot be patented and for many others, this may be the ultimate dream.