While medical cannabis is often used to ease pain or nausea, an Israeli-American biopharmaceutical company is developing medicines containing cannabinoids — chemical compounds from cannabis plants — to treat conditions including diabetes, inflammatory diseases (like arthritis, atherosclerosis and ulcerative colitis) and cardiovascular disorders.
ISA Scientific recently signed an exclusive worldwide licensing and collaboration agreement to establish therapies containing a specific cannabinoid called cannabidiol (CBD), with Yissum, the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hadasit, the technology-transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, and the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research (KIR) in the United Kingdom.
This licensed intellectual property is the result of many years of research and collaboration between renowned cannabinoid scientists Raphael Mechoulam and Ruth Gallily from the Hebrew University; immunologist and KIR director Sir Marc Feldman; and Hadassah physicians and researchers Chaim Lotan, Ronen Durst and Lola Weiss.
“Raphael Mechoulam deserves all the credit for this,” says Lotan, a cardiologist who directs the heart center at Hadassah University Medical Center.
Lotan tells ISRAEL21c that Mechoulam discovered CBD receptors not only in the brain but also in other bodily tissues, suggesting that the therapeutic effects of this non-psychoactive component of cannabis could be extremely broad.
“He synthesized a whole ‘family’ of cannabinoids, and therefore with some changes in molecular structure you can tailor cannabinoids to different receptors,” Lotan explains.
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