• The research, conducted at Queen Mary University, found that a slight regulation in the length of primary cilia, small hair-like projections found on most cells, prevented the production of fat cells from human stem cells taken from adult bone marrow.
  • Part of the process by which calories are turned into fat involves adipogenesis, the differentiation of stem cells into fat cells. During this process of adipogenesis, the length of primary cilia increases associated with movement of specific proteins onto the cilia. By genetically restricting this cilia elongation in stem cells the researchers were able to stop the formation of new fat cells.
  • Professor Martin Knight, a bioengineer and lead author of the research, said: “This research points towards a new type of treatment known as ‘cilia-therapy’ where manipulation of primary cilia may be used in future to treat a growing range of conditions including obesity, cancer, inflammation and arthritis.”

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