Obese monkeys lost significant amount of weight with a new drug that kills fat cells, paving the way for its development for use in humans, a study finds.

Obese monkeys lost an average 11 percent of their weight in four weeks of treatment with the drug, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. It also trimmed their waistlines by eradicating 27 percent of their abdominal fat. The drug was injected in a daily basis.

The study was published in Science Translational Medicine.

Researchers emphasized that for human use the new drug would provide a “non-surgical way to actually reduce accumulated white fat, in contrast to current weight-loss drugs that attempt to control appetite or prevent absorption of dietary fat,” said co-senior author Renata Pasqualini, Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson’s David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers.

The drug called Adipotide, acts on the unhealthy type of fat that accumulates under the skin and around the abdomen, considered a disease and mortality predictor. Adipotide has an agent that cuts blood supply to fat cells. Without blood supply, fat cells are reabsorbed and metabolized, researchers explained.

In earlier preclinical research, the drug was tested in obese mice which successfully lost about 30 percent of their body weight with the drug.

The positive results in monkeys are especially significant given that most drugs against obesity fail in transition between rodents and primates, according to Pasqualini.

“We’re greatly encouraged to see substantial weight loss in a primate model of obesity that closely matches the human condition,” she said in a statement.

After the success of the drug in monkeys, researchers applied for FDA approval to begin trials in people possibly within a year, according to MSNBC.