Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals’ investigational cannabidiol-derived EHP-101 continues to show potential to ease inflammation and myelin loss (demyelination) — a hallmark of multiple sclerosis (MS) — according to data from healthy volunteers and a mouse model of MS.
The data support the advance of EHP-101’s clinical development into the Phase 2 stage.
The findings were presented in two posters at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2020, held in Florida Feb. 27-29.
Cannabinoids (the cannabis plant’s active components) and other elements involved in the endocannabinoid system — a complex modulatory network involved in brain development, memory, movement control, hormone production, and immune reactions — are known to have neuroprotective effects.
EHP-101 (previously known as VCE-004.8) is an oral formulation of a new molecule derived from synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has gained increased scientific interest in recent years.
EHP-101 was designed to be therapeutically superior to other CBD products due to its greater activity via activation of the cannabinoid receptors CB2 and PPAR-gamma, previously shown to help prevent inflammation and loss of myelin — the protective coat around nerve fibers that allows effective nerve cell communication.
In addition, EHP-101 activates the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway, which regulates immune responses associated with neuroprotection and myelin regeneration (remyelination).
Previous studies in mouse models of MS showed that EHP-101 effectively lessened neuroinflammation and prevented the loss of myelin, nerve cell damage, and exacerbated immune responses.
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