Imagine using a weight loss product that swells in your stomach and disintegrates in your lower bowel... to keep you from overeating. It's on the way. I can see the search queries now: "Can I use ______ if I've had weight loss surgery?" This isn't like the "FullBar" product line, which is food product that can make you feel full, this is a gel taken in a pill.
Click here to see how it works.
All I can think of at this point is absorbent disposable diaper filling. I've been through a lot of diapers. I'm just saying.
If you fill your stomach with a gel-like substance that swells so much that very little room is left for food, will you lose weight? Researchers at Gelesis, a Boston-based company, think so. They have been testing a polymer or hydrogel called Attiva. The substance is about the size of a sugar grain but when the grains are consumed in a capsule along with water, the grains swell into a gel- like substance. As the gel expands in the stomach, little room is left for food. The gel also stretches the stomach walls and stimulates nerve fibers that tell the brain the stomach is too full to receive any more food.
Rats given this gel stopped eating for about 18 hours. Early tests with humans produced a sensation of fullness after meals and a decrease in hunger tween meals. But these particles did more than limit food intake. When they finally leave the stomach (by shrinking and going back to their granular form) they enter the small intestine where digested food is absorbed into the bloodstream. Here they swell again and trap digested sugar and fatty acids in their viscous matrix. Think of partially firm Jell-O with bits of fruit floating around in it. The polymer is the Jell-O-like substance that captures bits of sugar and fatty acids. Eventually, as the polymer shrinks again, the sugar and fatty acids are released and slowly trickle into the blood stream. The gel continues on its way through the large intestine, finally disintegrates, and passes out of the body.
Gelesis Presents Mechanistic Data Supporting its Novel Clinical Stage Obesity Treatment at Obesity 2010
BOSTON, MA, October 11, 2010 - Gelesis, Inc., a Boston-based company focused on breakthrough treatments for obesity, presented new results at Obesity 2010, the 28th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society (San Diego). The new data demonstrated that its lead products (Attiva and Gellica) dramatically reduced food intake in a gold-standard animal model compared to administration of an equal amount of water.
"It was intriguing that the significant effect lasted for up to 18 hours, far longer than the transit time of the hydrogels in the stomach, therefore suggesting that these materials are acting through multiple mechanisms important for regulation of hunger, satiety and food intake," said lead author Dr. Hassan Heshmati, Chief Medical Officer of Gelesis.
According to the study, acute oral administration of Attiva and Gellica, two novel superabsorbent biodegradable hydrogels in development by Gelesis, significantly decreases food intake in rats when compared to administration of a similar amount of water. This effect on food intake is likely due to a combination of transient reduction of the available stomach volume and delayed gastric emptying. Additional mechanisms involving the small intestine could also be present. This new animal data is consistent with the previously reported human data with Attiva that showed that people felt greater satiety after administration of Attiva. The previously published human data also showed a "second meal effect" whereby patients given Attiva at lunch felt significantly less hungry before the start of dinner, supported by the mechanistic data being reported today.
Obesity is a major cause of death worldwide, yet adequate therapies for obesity have been elusive. Close to two billion individuals are either overweight or obese according to the World Health Organization. No one has been successful at developing a safe and effective treatment for obesity despite the multi-billion dollar potential for such a product.
Pharmaceutical attempts have been limited by modest efficacy and challenging safety profiles. Surgical intervention to reduce stomach volume mechanically is effective but the use of that invasive approach is limited to morbidly obese patients. Gelesis has taken an innovative non-pharmacological, non-invasive approach to the surgical volume reduction mechanism. The product concept involves the decrease of functional stomach volume, with a patient swallowing capsules containing individual particles that swell to 100 times their original size in the stomach environment. Delivered in a capsule, Gelesis technology was designed to work mechanically via several physiological mechanisms in the gastrointestinal tract that induce satiation when one eats a full meal. A video and animation of the Gelesis technology is available at www.gelesis.com/content/technology/.
"These results further validate our novel approach and are consistent with our previously reported human clinical data," said Yishai Zohar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gelesis, "We are committed to continuing the clinical development of this important new therapy."
Attiva™, Gelesis' lead technology, is a non-invasive capsulated device that is the first and only superabsorbent hydrogel composed entirely from GRAS components. In April 2010, Gelesis unveiled the Attiva™ technology at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 19th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress in Boston and presented data showing that Attiva™ significantly increased the post-meal feeling of satiety and reduced hunger between meals in overweight and obese patients.
Would you try this product? Would it be something you'd consider prior to having weight loss surgery?