Endocannabinoid-based CLE Therapy Shows Promise in Early Tests

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by Steve Bryson PhD |

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Early studies of an endocannabinoid-based treatment for cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) showed that it eased skin lesions, according to Hoth Therapeutics, which developed the therapy.

Endocannabinoids are cannabis-like molecules naturally produced by the human body, with effects similar to those of medical marijuana.

The therapy delivers a compound called anandamide (AEA) through gel-based nanoparticles called Z-pods, made by Hoth partner Zylö Therapeutics.

Z-pods loaded with AEA are applied directly to the top layer of the skin, and penetrate to deeper layers, delivering the therapy in a controlled and sustained manner.

In the preclinical study, AEA-loaded Z-pods dissolved in coconut oil and applied to skin lesions resulted in lower lesion scores compared with no treatment and with AEA in coconut oil without Z-pods.

“The preliminary data of our study is a positive step toward underlining the transformative potential of AEA-loaded Z-pods in patients suffering from CLE,” Robb Knie, CEO of Hoth Therapeutics, said in a press release. “We are pleased with the results we have made in the development of our lupus treatment since announcing our strategy” with Zylö, he said.

“At the conclusion of this study, we look forward to the next steps in bringing this treatment to those patients in need,” Knie said.

AEA-loaded Z-pods, developed by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, inhibited the development of CLE skin lesions in a mouse model of lupus. The treatment also improved the organization of skin tissue, lessened the accumulation of immune cells in the skin, and suppressed the production of inflammatory molecules by skin cells.

“These compelling results, coupled with the data from a preliminary study conducted at Einstein College of Medicine, clearly warrant further investigation of this novel approach to treating cutaneous manifestations of lupus,” said Scott Pancoast, CEO of Zylö.

According to Zylö, a single application of a therapy delivered by Z-pods can last up to 24 hours. Z-pods have been especially effective with hard-to-deliver therapies, the company says.

Hoth owns exclusive rights to develop Z-pods with AEA for the treatment of CLE in North America. The company also has a license to develop the therapy for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, and to expand its availability in other countries.