London: Dieters could lose their double chins and spare tyres by getting shots of modified heat producing cells commonly found in animals and babies, according to a finding.
The cells release "signals" that alter the surrounding fat tissue so surplus calories are burnt up by producing body heat rather than being stored as fat.
Tests in animals have shown that injecting the capsules caused obese mice to lose up to 10 percent of their body weight even when being fed a high calorie diet, the journal Biomaterials reported.
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, according to the Telegraph.
Ouliana Ziouzenkova, human nutrition researcher at Ohio State University, said: "We found the capsules completely remodelled the fat they were put into."
"Our goal was to achieve a way of targeting deleterious visceral fat that increases the risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease."
"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.
"We have a grant now to carry out some work with obese dogs as it could also be of great benefit for veterinary purposes as there is a growing problem with obese pets," added Ziouzenkova.
Researchers believe the capsules, three times as thick as 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.
Ziouzenkova and her colleagues 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 recipients immune system.