A new hormone-like compound has caused monkeys to safely lose seven percent of their body weight in a week — equivalent to 10 pounds for a 143-pound human.

The compound, called KB-141, works on the same principle as the hormone produced by the thyroid gland in the neck — well known for its ability to produce weight loss by boosting metabolic rate, thus causing the burning of more calories.

The same hormone, however, can also cause a dangerous increase in heart rate.

To take advantage of the positive weight loss attributes of the hormone, scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the University of California, San Francisco are working on a drug that could eliminate the heart rate problem.

The researchers may have found an answer in two main receptors on the body’s cells.

When tested on animals, the drug decreased cholesterol levels and reduced body weight without increasing heart rate. When tested on monkeys, the drug reduced body weight by seven percent over seven days without affecting heart rate.

More here.