The Center for Innovative Drug Development, which is a joint venture of UTSA and UT Health San Antonio, are reporting progress in coming up with a a new drug that could help people lose weight without dieting, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Dr. Stanton McHardy, the Director of Medicinal Chemistry at the Center, says it works by targeting the fat cells themselves.

"This drug changes the metabolism of fat cells," he said.  "When I say metabolism, that's the burning of fat cells, that's what gets rid of them."

Dr. McHardy's team is working in collaboration with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston on what could be a major breakthrough drug.

According to a prospectus in the journal 'Science News':  "Given the ever-increasing obesity epidemic, researchers have discovered a promising developing drug that has been shown to selectively shrink excess fat by increasing fat cell metabolism. The drug significantly reduces body weight and blood cholesterol levels without lowering food intake in obese mice, according to a recent study."

Researchers say seven in ten adults in the United States are either overweight or obese, and the cost of the obesity epidemic is estimated at $150 billion a year.

"What this tells us a new way to think about obesity," Dr. McHardy told News Radio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board.  "This is a unique mechanism of action and using unique pathways."

He says mice receiving the drug lost seven percent of their body weight, and 30 percent of their fat cell size, without altering their food intake.

He says despite the progress in mice, this drug, which has yet to be named, has a significant rod of research and clinical trials ahead.