Understanding how gastric bypass works: Finding drug targets for obesity and diabetes

Coming a step closer to understanding how gastric bypass works

“The therapeutic effects of gastric bypass give us hope that we can discover novel drugs for obesity and diabetes,” says Nima Saeidi, PhD, of the MGH-CEM, principal investigator on the project. “Our goal is to reverse engineer the weight loss and resolution of blood sugar control without having to perform such an invasive procedure. To achieve this, we must first be able to capture how metabolic organs such as the liver, muscle, adipose tissue and even the small intestine reprogram themselves post-surgery to trigger the weight loss and reversal of insulin resistance.” Gastric bypass is a mixed weight loss surgery, utilizing both a decrease in stomach size and a partial bypass of the small intestine to limit calorie intake. Gastric bypass is also commonly referred to as “roux-en-y” weight loss surgery and is one of the most successful weight loss surgeries for sustained, long-term weight loss. The challenge, of course, is losing the weight, and many obese patients cannot achieve this through simple diet, exercise or medication. After exhausting all of these options, many people consider weight-loss surgery. There are several types of weight-loss surgery, but gastric bypass surgery is the most common. Doctors perform an estimated 140, 000 gastric bypass surgeries in the United States every year [Source: American Society for Bariatric Surgery].