Here is some good news for dieters! Scientists are developing injections comprising animal cells that could help you lose stubborn fat like double chins and spare tyres.
Researchers from the Ohio University found they can burn off excess fat in specific areas of the body by injecting tiny capsules filled with a modified type of heat-producing cell commonly found in animals and babies, The Telegraph reported.
The cells release signals that alter the surrounding fat tissue so surplus calories are used up by producing body heat rather than being stored as fat.
The jab could solve the problem faced by many dieters who find that no matter how much weight they lose or how much they exercise, there are some areas of the body where fat stubbornly refuses to come off.
Tests in animals have shown that injecting the capsules caused obese mice to lose up to 10 per cent of their body weight even when being fed a high calorie diet.
The researchers are now planning to begin treating obese dogs later this year. If successful and found to be safe, it is hoped that the treatment could be available for use in humans in around six years.
The researchers believe the capsules, which are around three times the width of a human hair, could be injected into specific fat deposits such as the thighs, buttocks, arms or under the chin to reduce the amount of fat stored there.
"We have to prove that this is safe and effective in humans, but we could think about using it for body sculpturing. So if you wanted to remove a small amount of fat under your face like a double chin, or in their arms or legs, you could target these with a single injection," researcher Dr Ouliana Ziouzenkova, said.
The researchers used fatlike cells from mice that had been genetically modified to burn off excess energy as body temperature.
They found that by encasing these cells inside plastic-like microcapsules, they could be transplanted without being destroyed by the recipient's immune system.
Obese mice that received the capsules lost a tenth of their body fat in a month and after 80 days were 20 per cent less fat than mice that received empty capsules.
The cells are thought to cause this change by releasing signals known as thermogenic factors through pores in the capsules into the surrounding unhealthy body fat. These then changed the fat into heat producing cells known as thermocytes.
Ziouzenkova believes that by transplanting cells from animals such as mice into adult humans, known as xenotransplantation, it may be possible to increase the number of thermocytes in adults.
The study was published in the scientific journal Biomaterials.