University of Lethbridge researching possible Parkinson’s disease treatments
The University of Lethbridge has been chosen to research GB Sciences' new patent-protected formulations of a potential Parkinson’s disease (PD) treatment.
Led by Dr. Robert Sutherland, the study will focus on the cannabis-based formulations as a way to potentially slow down or possibly reverse the symptoms of PD.
One cause of PD is the death of nerve cells in the basal ganglia. This area of the brain controls bodily movement, and the cells that die are dopamine-producing cells. The lack of dopamine produced by the basal ganglia results in some of the common symptoms, like shakiness, difficulty with coordination and balance issues.
Another cause is the death of nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the nervous system. This results in other symptoms, like fatigue, irregular blood pressure, and decreased movement of food through the digestive tract.
Sutherland says the causes of PD make it difficult to treat, but he is hoping this study will be a breakthrough in potential treatments.
"Right now there’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there’s no treatment that even slows down the process significantly and that’s an important fact," Sutherland said.
"It’s the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. So finding anything that produces a benefit or could actually pause the disease progression is really significant."
The cannabis-based formulations don’t have any THC or other psychoactive chemicals in them. Rather than trying to mimic dopamine, it hopes to protect the dopamine producing cells.
"There is no direct dopamine effect, so these cannabinoids do not mimic dopamine, but they do tend to have a neuroprotectant function. So there’s an endogenous process inside the brain of people with Parkinson’s Disease that slowly kills off the dopamine neurons and it’s thought that these mixtures will actually block or interfere with that killing off of the dopamine neurons," Sutherland says.
While the formulation is expected to protect these neurons, it’s possible that it could even help dying cells recover.
"There’s a little bit of residual capacity in these dopamine neurons to recover from damage, and a second possible mechanism of action is that these compounds actually stimulate recovery of dopamine neurons. So as well as being protective, they may actually increase the health of dopamine neurons that are remaining," Sutherland says.
Dopamine and norepinephrine neurons share many similarities, so it’s possible that the formulations could impact both leading causes of PD.
"There’s a lot of similarities between dopamine neurons and norepinephrine neurons neurochemically. They resemble each other. So there’s a good possibility that this would be neuroprotective or reverse the symptoms of norepinephrine loss as well," Sutherland says.
Ultimately, the main goal of the study is to put the brakes on PD progression, and to reverse some of the symptoms.
"The main point is to make sure we can reverse these symptoms. So can we actually restore normal movement functions? That’s goal number one," Sutherland says.
The study began last week, and is divided into three steps:
- Test the correct dosage range of the formulation with normal mice. This is a dose-response experiment where they apply three different doses to mice and continuously monitor their behavior under the influence of the formulation. This is to make sure there aren’t any serious side effects.
- After finding the correct dosage, apply it to mice that have a form of experimental PD. This is to see if it improves their movement, and whether or not the mixtures in the appropriate dose can restore some function.
- Testing if the formulation can block the death of dopamine neurons in mice. On top of that, they will also see if it’s possible to reverse symptoms.
Currently, the study is in the early stages of the first steps.
Calgary Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
A well-known Ukrainian paramedic who was held prisoner by Russian and separatist forces for three months after being captured in the southeastern city of Mariupol has accused her guards of psychological and physical torture during her time in captivity.
Patrick Brown is alleging political corruption played a role in his disqualification from the Conservative Party of Canada's leadership race, a move that came following allegations that his campaign violated election financing rules.
Video has emerged showing a worker dangling in the air above a Toronto construction site after accidently getting entangled in a tagline attached to a crane.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected clamors for his resignation from his Cabinet and across the Conservative Party, digging in his heels Thursday even as dozens of officials quit and previously loyal allies urged him to go after yet another scandal engulfed his leadership.
Despite being disqualified by the Conservative Party of Canada from becoming its next leader, ousted candidate Patrick Brown's name will still appear on the ballot.
The federal government has no intention of dropping the controversial ArriveCan app because it gives the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) key health information about travellers who test positive for COVID-19 through testing at airports and land borders, senior government sources tell CTV News.
Air Canada said on Wednesday it will not allow animals in the baggage hold until Sept. 12 due to 'longer than usual' delays at airports, as carriers and airports wrestle with complaints over lost luggage and long lines.
Air Canada and Toronto's Pearson airport again claimed the top spots for flight delays on Tuesday, marking at least four days in a row where the country's biggest airline has placed No. 1 of any large carrier worldwide.
Prices have been easing slightly recently, but affording a mortgage is still a very difficult task for many Canadians. How much of a mortgage can you afford? Contributor Christopher Liew breaks it down in an exclusive column for CTVNews.ca.
Wade Stene, who admitted to kidnapping and sexually assaulting an eight-year-old Edmonton girl, was sentenced to 15.5 years behind bars Wednesday afternoon.
Emergency crews were called to a Mill Woods school on Wednesday after a security guard reportedly experienced irritation on their hands after finding a white powder.
Blackfalds RCMP were called to the scene of a serious hit and run collision Wednesday evening.
Someone in British Columbia could be sitting on a lottery ticket worth a whopping $15 million – but there's only a few weeks left to claim the jackpot.
For the second consecutive day, emergency resolutions related to a conflict between the Assembly of First Nations National Chief and the organization's executive council threw the agenda into chaos.
The large logs that have lined the water’s edge at many Vancouver beaches have been a favourite lounging spot for sun worshipers for over 50 years.
A person has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a shooting in Halifax Wednesday night.
Halifax Regional Police and fire crews are investigating after receiving reports of a missing swimmer in Dartmouth.
The ex-boyfriend of Cassidy Bernard has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and a consecutive three years for child abandonment in connection with the young mother's death.
Investigators say a man was lying in the roadway when he was struck and killed by a vehicle near Courtenay, B.C., on Wednesday.
The driver of a logging truck was airlifted to hospital in Victoria after he was pinned inside the vehicle following a rollover crash on Wednesday morning.
The number of Vancouver Island marmots in the wild increased this week, with 10 of the critically endangered rodents released onto a Mount Washington ski run.
'I cannot get any rest': Residents complain of sleepless nights after alleged nightclub opens up under condo
Residents living in Toronto’s west end say they have been left utterly exhausted after an alleged nightclub opened up at the base of their condominium.
Ontario has likely entered a new wave of the pandemic driven by the more infectious BA.5 subvariant, the province’s science advisory table says.
A mother from Nova Scotia is speaking out about her recent travel experience through Toronto Pearson Airport after a WestJet flight delay left her and her daughters sleeping on a nursing room floor.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M. | With another COVID climb, Quebec health minister calls news conference for Thursday morning
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in Quebec, public health officials have called a news conference for Thursday morning.
'Not a time when Quebec can afford to lose young doctors,' province's opposition leader says of ER exodus
The leader of Quebec's Liberal Party paused her vacation briefly on Wednesday to react to the news that two young emergency room doctors have quit their jobs in their hometown of Montreal to work in Toronto.
A prominent Montreal drag queen who recently faced pressure from critics over library readings to young children says her storytime events scheduled for the fall were abruptly called off for unknown reasons.
An Ottawa senior citizen says he lost his life savings after investing with a real estate development firm that has been charged with fraud.
Ottawa police are on the scene of a shooting that injured one person in the city's west end.
The penultimate day of the public hearings into Ottawa’s light rail transit system saw some sharp words from the train manufacturer.
Break-ins targeting restaurants, salons, dress shops and cannabis stores have been reported in Kitchener, Waterloo and Woolwich.
'There’s no great answer': Low-income tenants weigh options in Cambridge as renovations push them out
Tenants of the Tiger Lofts, an affordable apartment building in Cambridge, say they’re being “renovicted” and won’t be allowed to stay after extensive renovations.
Police are looking for a man who allegedly grabbed and sexually assaulted a woman in a Kitchener park.
A crash involving a fire hydrant was the first in a chain of events that led to a chaotic scene in a Saskatoon intersection.
Starting Thursday, riders looking to take Access Transit to get to their destinations will notice a shift in service over the next three weeks.
Two Ukrainian refugees, a brother and sister, are settling into their new home in Saskatoon.
Christ the King Church in Sudbury is looking for your scrap vehicle.
Whether you’re looking for a change of pace, a breath of fresh air, or a glimpse into nature, northern Ontario has an outdoor oasis waiting to be discovered.
The chair of the Station Mall Merchants Association says news of the mall's sale to a southern Ontario holding company brings to a close years of uncertainty regarding the future of the property.
A political breakup at Winnipeg City Hall is creating intrigue in a council race.
A community organization is proposing a network of cameras in an effort to bolster safety throughout the area.
Residents in a southern Manitoba town are asking questions as to why they are facing a summer with no emergency room.
The city’s executive committee discussed possible upgrades for Regina’s recreation facilities and event venues during a meeting Wednesday.
'I feel like I have everything to lose': Riders' Tevin Jones looks to maintain place on active roster
Wide Receiver Tevin Jones got his first regular season Canadian Football League (CFL) start in week four and will look to continue the momentum against Ottawa.
SaskEnergy has gained ownership of its Regina head office building following a decade long legal battle.