Joining leptin, melanocortin, and ghrelin in the group of appetite-suppressing hormones is obestatin, which is produced by the same gene that produces ghrelin. Researchers, led by Aaron Hsueh, PhD, of Stanford University, used data gathered by the Human Genome Project in their discovery. Dr. Hsueh found that treating rats with obestatin suppressed their food intakewhich opens possibilities to develop the drug for humans, either by injection or possibly a nasal spray. Scientists caution, however, that the effects of obestatin may be limited and may cause an illness or nausea that decreases appetite. To date, research on appetite-suppressing hormones has yet to produce a cure for obesity.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.