12:00 AM
 | 
Jun 06, 2013
 |  BC Innovations  |  Targets & Mechanisms

Watching obesity on a new channel

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have found a potassium channel Kv1.3 inhibitor that may help treat obesity-related diseases.1 The team had previously licensed one inhibitor, ShK-186, to Kineta Inc. for autoimmune indications-the biotech is now planning to test it also in obesity or metabolic syndrome.

Potassium channel Kv1.3 (KCNA3) has long been associated with immune regulation owing to its expression on effector-memory

T cells.2 Indeed, four companies have KCNA3 inhibitors in preclinical development for autoimmunity: conoGenetix biosciences GmbH, Axxam S.p.A., Bionomics Ltd. and Circassia Ltd.

However, evidence has been mounting that inhibiting the channel may have additional regulatory functions.

In 2003, a group at Yale University reported the target was involved in regulating body weight. That team produced Kcna3 -/- knockout mice and found the animals were protected from diet-induced obesity and had an increased basal metabolic rate compared with wild-type animals.3

In 2011, researchers at Kineta were studying ShK-186 in monkeys and...

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