Researchers from the MD Anderson Cancer Centre of the University of Texas found that a drug, called Adipotide, attacks the blood supply of fat cells and helps shed 40 per cent of body fat in just a month.
Although they carried out their experiments on monkeys, the researchers believe the drug would also help melt human flab and is poised to give it to patients for the first time, the Daily Mail reported.
The researchers said when injected, the drug homes in on the blood vessels that supply fat with blood, triggering their death, and leading to the flab melting away. Appetite is also found to be curbed.
When monkeys, which had become fat by overeating and not exercising, were given daily jabs of the drug, they shed 11 per cent of their weight in just four weeks.
In human terms, an obesity drug is usually seen as beneficial if a person loses around five per cent of their weight in six months.
The animals also shed 39 per cent of their overall body fat and bellies were trimmed by 27 per cent, the team reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine reports. Some kidney problems were noted but researchers believe these can be overcome. They plan to give the drug to obese prostate cancer patients, in the hope of improving their overall health.
Researcher Dr Wadih Arap said: "Obesity is a major risk factor for developing cancer, roughly the equivalent of tobacco use. Obese cancer patients do worse in surgery, with radiation or chemotherapy – worse by any measure."
If further trials show Adipotide to be safe, it could be widely prescribed to the obese, the researchers added.