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Therapeutics & Diagnostics 20-026

Modifying intestinal nutrient absorption for obesity and metabolic diseases

Treatment of obesity and metabolic diseases by modifying intestinal nutrient absorption

Tech ID



J. Schertzer
F. Forato Anhe
H. Fang

Patent Status

US and CA patents filed

Stage of Research

Proof of concept


Amy Hector
Business Development Manager


Obesity is characterized by expanded adipose tissue, ectopic fat deposition (e.g., fatty liver), higher blood insulin, insulin resistance and higher blood glucose. Obesity promotes type 2 diabetes (T2D) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), interlinked chronic diseases with a high health and economic burden1,2. There are currently no approved therapies for NAFLD, which can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer. Diets that restrict certain macronutrients and lower caloric intake can mitigate obesity and promote remission of T2D3 and potentially NAFLD. However, long-term diet adherence is a significant problem. Bariatric surgery is the most efficacious treatment for T2D4 but is expensive and not accessible at a population level. Therefore, there is an urgent need to discover treatments that offer better compliance and accessibility than current diet and surgical treatments.

Researchers from McMaster have discovered a unique method and dietary composition to assist in the treatment of obesity, T2D and NAFLD. The method and composition are based on trapping a metabolite produced by intestinal bacteria in the gut, which forms liver glycogen, liver fat, and blood glucose.


  • Management of type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity


  • Non-invasive treatment option with better adherence than diets


  1. Tran, B.X., et al., Cost analyses of obesity in Canada: scope, quality, and implications. Cost Eff Resour Alloc, 2013. 11(1): p. 3.
  2. Bilandzic, A. and L. Rosella, The cost of diabetes in Canada over 10 years: applying attributable health care costs to a diabetes incidence prediction model. Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can, 2017. 37(2): p. 49-53.
  3. Lean, M.E.J., et al., Durability of a primary care-led weight-management intervention for remission of type 2 diabetes: 2-year results of the DiRECT open-label, cluster-randomised trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol, 2019. 7(5): p. 344-355.
  4. Madsen, L.R., et al., Effect of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery on diabetes remission and complications in individuals with type 2 diabetes: a Danish population-based matched cohort study. Diabetologia, 2019. 62(4): p. 611-620.

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