Novel compounds to activate cannabinoid receptors wins award for Hebrew University researcher

June 13, 2012

Jerusalem, June 13, 2012 - Experimental work by a Hebrew University researcher involving stimulation of a cannabinoid receptor in the immune system has been shown to hold promise for the treatment of many neurological, inflammatory and other illnesses. Cannabinoids are organic substances found in the cannabis (or marijuana) plant.

For her groundbreaking work, Dr. Lital Magid has been named one of the winners this year of a Kaye Innovation Award at the Hebrew University. Magid, a young immigrant from Russia and a registered nurse, earned her Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy, working under Prof. Emeritus Raphael Mechoulam, a world renowned expert in the medicinal usages of cannnabis.

Two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, have been identified in mammals. CB1 receptor is distributed in the central nervous system (CNS), activation of which has been found to induce the familiar marijuana-related psychotropic (behavioral) effects, whereas selective activation of the CB2 receptor, which is mainly expressed in the peripheral immune system, is devoid of psychoactivity.

Recent studies have demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects mediated by the CB2 receptor in a multitude of pathological conditions, ranging from neurodegenerative disorders and inflammatory pain to atherosclerosis, cerebral injury and liver inflammation and fibrosis, to mention just a few.

Magid designed and synthesized novel, cannabinoid-like chemical compounds, which were able to bind and activate the human CB2 receptor. The result was inhibition of pro-inflammatory activity, which in turn creates conditions for easing pain and promoting healing.

A treatment with the selected novel compounds led to a significant improvement in the neurobehavioral recovery following traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mice as early as 48 hours after the injury and had a significant impact on brain tissue damage repair, as verified by MRI examination.

The novel compounds developed in Magid's work represent promising agents for further research and development of drugs to treat inflammation and brain injury. The invention was patented by Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and recently licensed to a big pharmaceutical company.

Magid received one of the Kaye Innovation Awards, presented on June 13 at the Hebrew University Board of Governors meeting. The Kaye Awards have been given annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit the university and society.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Related Immune System Articles from Brightsurf:

How the immune system remembers viruses
For a person to acquire immunity to a disease, T cells must develop into memory cells after contact with the pathogen.

How does the immune system develop in the first days of life?
Researchers highlight the anti-inflammatory response taking place after birth and designed to shield the newborn from infection.

Memory training for the immune system
The immune system will memorize the pathogen after an infection and can therefore react promptly after reinfection with the same pathogen.

Immune system may have another job -- combatting depression
An inflammatory autoimmune response within the central nervous system similar to one linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) has also been found in the spinal fluid of healthy people, according to a new Yale-led study comparing immune system cells in the spinal fluid of MS patients and healthy subjects.

COVID-19: Immune system derails
Contrary to what has been generally assumed so far, a severe course of COVID-19 does not solely result in a strong immune reaction - rather, the immune response is caught in a continuous loop of activation and inhibition.

Immune cell steroids help tumours suppress the immune system, offering new drug targets
Tumours found to evade the immune system by telling immune cells to produce immunosuppressive steroids.

Immune system -- Knocked off balance
Instead of protecting us, the immune system can sometimes go awry, as in the case of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.

Parkinson's and the immune system
Mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of hereditary forms of Parkinson's disease.

How an immune system regulator shifts the balance of immune cells
Researchers have provided new insight on the role of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in regulating the immune response.

Read More: Immune System News and Immune System Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to