Cannabis Patient Care - March/April 2022

Cannabis Patient Care March/April 2022

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36 doctor focus cannabis patient care | vol. 3 no. 1 Cannabinoids in a Pill? One Company's Research to Find the Next Cannabinoid- Based Medication B Y M A D E L I N E C O L L I I MAGINE WAKING UP with chronic pain every day. Per- haps you take an over-the-counter medicine such as Aleve or Tylenol and that might dull the pain to a tolerable lev- el, but it's still there. Perhaps you are functionable, but not pain-free. Now, imagine a new type of medication that has the potential to offer the benefits of cannabis without any un- desirable effects—no "high." Dr. James Woody, the chief exec- utive officer of 180 Life Sciences is working diligently with his team of scientists and researchers—including Dr. Marc Feld- mann and Dr. Raphael Mechoulam—to develop an FDA-ap- proved medication such as this. Here, Dr. Woody discusses the current research surrounding synthetic cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG), as a treatment for chronic pain as well as some of the other impressive projects his company is working on. Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? A: Dr. James Woody: I'm a pediatric immunologist. I trained in pediatrics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and at Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts. Along the way, I was involved in a number of immunologic studies. I also helped invent some drugs that have been used in lots of patients and have been very helpful. I ran the former Syntex Pharmaceuticals Company for eight years and then started companies on my own. Most recently, I joined 180 Life Sciences as CEO to help move products forward. Q: Can you tell me about the company 180 Life Sciences? A: Dr. Woody: 180 Life Sciences was put together from three other companies in a three-way merger. One of the companies was using anti-tumor necrosis factor or anti-TNF. A second company was based in Israel and it had been working on cannabinoid compounds. Finally, the third company was developing a compound against the nicotinic acid receptor, which is anti-inflammatory, and was out of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. I'll explore each of these areas of expertise in greater detail. These three companies came together as 180 Life Sciences. All of the pieces came together through a special purpose acquisition company, or a SPAC. 180 Life Sciences has been a public company for about a year now and we have made some nice progress. Q: What is Remicade? A: Dr. Woody: Here's how Remicade works. In your blood, you have thousands of small proteins circulating around. Some of them have to do with the immune system, and those particular proteins are called cytokines. They tell the immune system to turn off, on, do whatever needs to be done to fight infection or other issues. One of the cytokines is called tumor necrosis factor or TNF. TNF got its name a long time ago when somebody in- jected this particular protein into tumors and it made them shrink. But, these days, it's never used for that. It turns out that TNF is considered a "bad actor." It's a cytokine that tells your joints to become inflamed, destroy your joint tissue, or destroy your colon or bowel in patients with Crohn's disease or inflammatory bowel disease. It can make diseases worse. That's what TNF is and why it's called a "bad actor." At 180 Life Sciences, Dr. Marc Feldmann and I discovered that this cytokine TNF was causing the joint damage found in rheumatoid arthritis. At Centocor, where I was Chief Scientific Officer, we were the first to make an antibody against TNF so that we could block its activity. When it was given to rheu- matoid arthritis patients, they said their pain went away and they were able to stand up. These patients were in wheel- chairs, so that was a phenomenal finding. This anti-TNF treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, Remicade, was the first of its kind, and hundreds of thousands of pa- tients have been treated with it. It also works in patients with Crohn's disease or inflammatory bowel disease. All of those patients have improved with this drug.

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