"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Weight loss drugs could help individuals with obesity fight cancer

May 10, 2023 – An ingredient in popular weight-loss drugs reminiscent of Ozempic and Wegovy could help individuals with obesity fight cancer, based on a brand new, small study published within the journal obesity.

People with obesity have fewer “natural killer cells,” or NK cells, which help fight cancer, previous studies show. The latest study involved 20 chubby individuals who took semaglutide, a key ingredient in Ozempic, a drug used to treat diabetes, and Wegovy, a weight-loss drug.

The results showed that their NK cells improved their function, the study said.

The drugs, “analogues of glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1),” can actually restore the function of NK cells within the body, including their ability to kill cancer cells,” based on a press release from Maynooth University in Ireland, where the research was conducted.

“The restored cancer-killing effect of NK cells is independent of the main function of GLP-1, weight loss. It therefore appears that the treatment directly boosts the NK cell engine,” the press release states.

Andrew Hogan, Associate Professor and lead researcher, said: “My team and I are very excited by these new findings regarding the effects of GLP-1 treatment on people with obesity. It appears to be providing really tangible benefits for those currently taking the drug.”

He noted that the recognition of the drugs had led to shortages.

“I hope this will be brought under control to ensure that as many people as possible living with obesity can start their own treatment with this useful drug,” he said.