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SR9009, which is currently under development at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), increases the level of metabolic activity in skeletal muscles of mice. Treated mice become lean, develop larger muscles and can run much longer distances simply by taking SR9009, which mimics the effects of aerobic exercise. If similar effects can be obtained in people, the reversal of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and perhaps Type-II diabetes might be the very welcome result.
The drug was developed by Professor Thomas Burris, who found that it was able to reduce obesity in populations of mice. It binds to and activates a protein called Rev-ErbAα, which influences fat and sugar burning in the liver, production of fat cells, and the body's inflammatory response.
If the effects of SR9009 on mice can safely be reproduced for people, the new drug may offer new therapies for obesity and its companions, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Another area in which SR9009 or a similar drug may confer substantial benefit is to offset the loss of general muscle conditioning which occurs as a side effect of reduced activity caused by illness and/or aging. People most likely to enjoy these benefits include those suffering from severe arthritis, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other conditions that restrict the ability to exercise.