Medicated Skin Patch Transforms Fat, Dissolves 'Love Handles'
Columbia University Medical Center researchers have created a medicated skin patch that can transform energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat locally, while raising the body's overall metabolism. The patch could be used to burn off pockets of unwanted fat such like 'love handles' and treat metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes, according to the researchers. Transforming an adult's white fat into brown fat - a process named browning - can happen naturally when the body is exposed to cold temperatures. "There are several clinically available drugs that promote browning, but all must be given as pills or injections," said researcher Li Qiang, PhD. To apply the treatment, these drugs are first encased in nanoparticles, each roughly 250 nanometers in diameter. The nanoparticles are then loaded into a centimeter-square skin patch containing dozens of microscopic needles. When applied to skin, the needles painlessly pierce the skin and gradually release the drug from nanoparticles into underlying tissue.