Singapore scientists discover treatment for terminal weight loss in cancer patients

SINGAPORE - Singapore scientists have discovered a way to treat and prevent terminal weight loss in cancer patients.

Researchers from the Genome Institute of Singapore, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and Duke-NUS Medical School found that excessive burning of fats by the muscles, or fatty acid oxidation, is one of the major causes of severe weight loss in patients suffering from serious chronic illnesses such as cancer.

This challenges the long-held assumption that excessive fatty acid oxidation is just a side effect of terminal weight loss, or cachexia.

The team has shown that using a fatty acid oxidation inhibitor drug can treat muscle wasting during cachexia, and will start the first clinical trials this year.

yuensin@sph.com.sg