UI licenses discovery that could provide OTC treatment option for wasting syndrome

By: Rebekah Tilley, via the UI Office of Research and Development

Fresh thyme and oregano usually offer a savory touch to a tasty dish, but a University of Iowa researcher recently discovered natural compounds in the herbs that may offer a treatment for cachexia or “wasting syndrome” as it is more commonly known.

Wasting syndrome is characterized by a loss of weight and muscle atrophy, and largely found in patients who suffer from cancer, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart failure.

In pre-clinical studies, compounds in thyme and oregano have demonstrated a greater than 37 percent increase in exercise tolerance and a 15 percent increase in muscle mass of certain body muscles. The discovery was a “serendipitous finding” in the lab of Rajan Sah, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, whose research centers on studying novel ion channel signaling in metabolism.

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