The incidence of obesity and related co-morbidities such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension are increasing at an alarming rate worldwide. Current interventions seem ineffective to halt this progression. With the failure of leptin as an anti-obesity therapeutic, ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) has proven efficacious in models of obesity and leptin resistance, where leptin proved ineffective. CNTF is a gp130 ligand that has been found to act centrally and peripherally to promote weight loss and insulin sensitivity in both human and rodent models. Future research into novel gp130 ligands may offer new candidates for obesity-related drug therapy.