Innovation Discovery Grant Update

Fighting the Consequences of Obesity

Treatment of Liver Disease with a Peptide Fragment Joel Habener, MD MGH, Endocrine Nearly 35% of Americans are obese according to the Center for Disease Control. There are a growing number of therapeutic responses to the potentially devastating consequences of the disease. Among the greatest areas of need is obesity-related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the leading cause of chronic liver disease. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for NAFLD other than liver transplant. Derived from its discovery of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a potent anti-hyperglycemic hormone, Dr. Habener's team has identified possible therapeutic effects of a novel peptide consisting of the five C-terminus amino acids of GLP-1 (penta-GLP-1) that increases basal energy expenditure, burns fat, and inhibits weight gain in diet-induced obese mice. The IDG award supported a pilot mouse study to assess penta-GLP-1's affect on NAFLD. The results suggest penta-GLP-1 inhibits the development of and reverses established early-stage NAFLD without thermo-toxicity or drug-related adverse effects for a number of dosages. The results from this pilot study will be instrumental in the design of further studies to demonstrate penta-GLP-1's affects on later stages of NAFLD.