U of A launches cannabis research into treating MS, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease

Dec 3 2019, 12:05 pm

A new research partnership at U of A was announced on Tuesday, which aims to invest in and study the ways medical cannabis could potentially improve lives.

A partnership between the University of Alberta and Atlas Biotechnologies will explore the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s diseases, according to a release from the university.

“People are touting (cannabis) for all kinds of things, but without solid scientific evidence,” said Ross Tsuyuki, chair of the U of A’s Department of Pharmacology. “There likely are benefits for some conditions.”

Edmonton-based Atlas Biotechnologies is investing just under $300,000 over two years to fund research studies at the university, to identify compounds that show promise in treating a number of neurological conditions.

According to the release, “the company and the U of A researchers hope to identify specific compounds, or combinations of compounds, that show promise for future therapeutic treatments.”

Atlas will provide materials according to researchers’ specifications, allowing them to look at the effects of cannabis in the laboratory.

“Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and Huntington’s disease are all devastating conditions that don’t have a lot of effective treatments,” said Tsuyuki.

“If we find something, even if it works just a little, that could be an enormous advance for patients. But we have to do our homework first, and that is where we’re starting.”

Through the partnership, both parties hope the findings will open the door to future clinical trials and hopefully develop therapies to improve lives.

“Our team is exploring the areas that we think have the highest likelihood of success and we will follow where the science leads,” said Tsuyuki.

“This collaboration marks some of our first steps on a long road of research discovery around medical cannabis. A great amount of work needs to be done, and the sooner we get started, the better.”