Recently, Nextar's subsidiary (Nextage Therapeutics, TASE:NXTG) announced that they had completed the development of a unique formulation which allows targeted delivery of CBD and other cannabinoids to the brain. This formulation is an adaptation of the technology developed by Nextar and provides a solution for the main challenge in treating brain-diseases: efficient delivery of drugs through the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB).
Okay ... but we know that CBD reaches the brain without the utilization of special technologies. So why fix something that is not broken?
The main challenge is targeting Cannabinoids treatment only to the brain
The use of cannabinoids for medical purposes has become increasingly common in recent years, and patients can choose between different routes of administration based on the required medical treatment and their personal needs. There are a few routes for administration of cannabinoids into the body, each has its pros and cons. Most of them (all but topical administration) result in systemic exposure. This none-specific exposure poses several challenges:
1. Unwanted side effects
The endocannabinoid system is an endogenous system. The endocannabinoid receptors are the most abundant receptors in the human body. Hence, APIs from cannabis and/or cannabis-based treatments will be non- specifically bound to the relevant receptors in the body in addition to the brain.
While at times, this type of interaction can be beneficial, it may also cause undesired side-effects when targeting the brain.
2. Administration of excessive cannabinoids dosages
The blood-brain barrier is a protective layer which prevents the entry of chemicals and pathogens to the most vital and sensitive organ in the body. It is a known fact that cannabinoids can cross the blood-brain barrier and thereby reach the brain. The challenge arises when cannabinoids are exposed systemically, as only a small part of the administered dosage finds its way into the brain while the rest gets systemically dispersed. With the capability of specifically targeting the brain, it is possible to reach therapeutic levels at the brain using lower cannabinoids concentrations. This will result in minimizing unwanted side effect, prolonging the effect in the brain, minimize possible organ damage, and possibly reduce the product cost.
3. Cannabinoids accumulation in tissues and organs
Although the use of cannabinoids is considered safe, during research done by GW Pharmaceuticals on patients treated with Epidiolex® (Cannabidiol) it was noted that a significant percentage of the patients (16%) had shown an increase in liver enzymes. This observation indicates that although their product is designed to affect the brain in the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome, it still might cause undesired liver activity and possible damage. Another example of unwanted accumulation of cannabinoids in body tissues is in mother's milk. Studies have shown residues of THC at least six days after administration. Thus, mothers in need of medical cannabinoids treatment are facing two choices: avoid breastfeeding or discontinue the treatment.
Accumulation of cannabinoids in the body might also affect the endocannabinoids tone and enhance malfunctions.
Therefore, by using a targeted brain delivery technology, these types of accumulation of cannabinoids in tissues and organs are reduced, and possible damage to body organs minimized.
Although the endocannabinoid system challenge is unique to cannabinoids, the latter two challenges exist for most drugs designed to treat brain-related diseases. The apparent need for the improvement of therapies for brain-diseases treatment led Nextar and Nextage to invest and further develop unique technology for targeted treatment of the brain-related diseases. This technology provides a solution for the main challenge in treating brain-diseases: efficient delivery of drugs through the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB).
Want to learn more about our drug delivery system and how it works? The second part of this article will be published soon. Subscribe here for updates on new blog posts.