What is brown adipose tissue?​

Brown adipose tissue (BAT), also called brown fat, is responsible for non-shivering thermogenesis. It is an endocrine organ that plays a key role in glucose and lipid metabolism by consuming fatty acids and glucose and regulating energy homeostasis. Brown fat burns calories into heat.

Having the right quantity of brown fat is very important for human health. Too little or too much BAT results in metabolic imbalance. Having too little of it can lead to obesity and metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, too much BAT results in increased energy expenditure, leading to body wasting – cachexia in patients with cancer and chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic kidney disease, chronic heart failure and HIV-AIDS.

Today, there are no products or methods approved for non-invasive detection of BAT. Such a product would enable detection and treatment of body wasting at a very early stage before quality of life and survival of patients are negatively impacted by the condition.

What is body wasting - cachexia?

Body wasting – cachexia is a complex syndrome mainly characterized by body weight loss, muscle wasting, and metabolic abnormalities. It affects 50 – 80% of cancer patients and accounts for about 20% of cancer deaths. Many patients with chronic diseases are also affected by body wasting.

The major symptoms of body wasting include unwanted weight loss, anorexia, anemia, and fatigue, which all negatively impact patient’s quality of life. In addition, body wasting is associated with decreased effectiveness and tolerance to anticancer treatments resulting in reduced survival. 

The hallmark of early body wasting are changes in body fat, when normal white fat becomes brown fat. Brown fat increases energy expenditure of patients and contributes to the development of body wasting.

Every year, 3 million patients die because of cachexia and not their chronic disease. Today, it takes up to 1 year to diagnose this fatal condition because no early diagnostic product exists.


Adiposs has developed ImageBAT, the first product that makes brown and beige adipose tissue (BAT) visible with a fast and pain-free CT scan. It enables early detection of body wasting before patients lose body weight. The diagnostic procedure with ImageBAT will be simple, non-invasive and cost-effective: cancer and COPD patients will simply drink ImageBAT before their routinely planned medical scan.