Drug Development //
The epidemic worldwide increase in the prevalence of obesity and its metabolic complications justifies the search for novel types of treatment. Abdominal obesity is frequently associated with insulin resistance or type II diabetes, fatty liver, and dyslipidemias that are predisposing conditions for cardiovascular diseases. Currently there is no drug available that favorably and simultaneously affects these conditions, necessitating the use of combinatorial therapies.
In our lab we try to identify key molecules associated with the endocannabinoid system, and develop new chemical entities that target specifically cannabinoid receptors. Moreover, our goal is to develop and test cell- and organelle specific CB1 receptor antagonists and/or cannabinoid-like molecules. To that end, we are currently encapsulating synthetic cannabinoids into biocompatible polymeric nanoparticles that serve as targeted drug delivery systems, via their conjugation to targeting ligands. These have the ability to deliver insoluble lipophilic drugs, increase drug stability, and provide sustained drug release directly to a diseased tissue. Our approach highlights the role of tissue-specific CB1 receptor as a potential therapeutic target devoid of the psychiatric liability that led to the downfall of global CB1 receptor blockade as a therapeutic option for the metabolic syndrome