Earlier this month, Artelo Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:ARTL) announced a partnership with Trinity College in Dublin to research a new drug with potential in anorexia associated with cancer.
Led by Richard Porter, associate professor at Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology, the researchers will work with Artelo’s peripherally selective cannabinoid receptor agonist, ART27.13, in preclinical models of human cancer cachexia.
Cachexia is a wasting syndrome that affects up to 80% of all cancer patients and is believed to hasten death.
Artelo is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapeutics that modulate endogenous signalling pathways — including the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabinoids And Cachexia
“Our main focus will be on the potential role of cannabinoids including ART27.13 in modulating catabolism associated with cachexia in human skeletal muscle, liver and fat,” Porter told Benzinga, citing the in vitro research he will be undertaking in these preclinical trials.
“We know that the peripheral cannabinoid system is implicated in many potential metabolic processes but no one has ever studied the potential direct protective role of cannabinoids in these systems before,” he added.
ART27.13 is a novel, fully synthetic, small molecule that functions as a full agonist to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Being peripherally selective, the drug cannot easily cross the blood-brain barrier; therefore its use may circumvent any potential psychotrophic effects.
Prior to Artelo, ART27.13 was sponsored by AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN).
In Phase 1 single-dose studies in healthy volunteers, and a multiple ascending dose study in individuals with chronic low back pain, ART27.13 exhibited an attractive pharmacokinetic, absorption, metabolic, and excretion profile.
It also exhibited dose-dependent and highly statistical increases in body weight.
Dr. Andrew Yates, chief scientific officer at Artelo Biosciences, which is now behind the trials, concluded: “Emerging data on peripheral endocannabinoid system modulation in appetite control and metabolism is very promising as a therapeutic target and this work is expected to further elucidate some of the mechanisms relevant to broader therapeutic development of ART27.13.”
Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.
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