miércoles, 29 de abril de 2020

The Cannabis Scientist Power List 2020 (II) / R&D Trailblazers

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The Cannabis Scientist Power List 2020 (I) / Analytical Gurus


1.-Raphael Mechoulam 

Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Medical Faculty, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Career highlight: I believe that my most important contribution has been the discovery of the endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-AG.

Unanswered question: Although there is a large amount of published preclinical information on the action of the endogenous cannabinoids, we have almost no direct knowledge of their action in humans. We also lack clinical data on many of the actions of the plant cannabinoids.

Lessons learned: Do what you yourself consider scientifically important. Try to disregard (politely) what others believe that you should do to advance your scientific field.

Nominator comment: “The father of cannabis science, and a continued inspiration to the many researchers who follow in his footsteps.”

2.-Roger Pertwee

Emeritus Professor, University of Aberdeen, UK

Motivation: My fascination with the pharmacology and therapeutic potential of cannabinoids.

Career highlight: My contribution to the discovery of 

(i) the endocannabinoid system and 
(ii) an allosteric site on the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. 

Other highlights include my contributions to the discovery of THCV in cannabis and to the intriguing pharmacological characterization of numerous plant and synthetic cannabinoids.

Where is the field heading? Toward a much more complete understanding of the pharmacological actions and effects of plant, synthetic and endogenous cannabinoids, and ultimately more approved cannabinoid medicines.

3.-Daniele Piomelli

Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at UCI School of Medicine, and Director of the UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis, Irvine, California, USA

Starting out in cannabis: When the structure of anandamide was described in 1993 I became intrigued by its similarities and differences with the compounds I was working on – eicosanoids. Anandamide was clearly an unusual molecule, and I wanted to find out how it was formed and destroyed in the brain. That curiosity led to a series of studies in which my lab identified the key pathways through which anandamide is produced and deactivated by neurons, and its role as a signaling molecule in the brain.

Most exciting project: More than 20 years after its discovery, we know that the endogenous cannabinoid system plays highly important and pervasive roles in the brain as well as in the periphery of the body. But we still don’t know how exogenous cannabinoids like THC can influence the activity of this system. My lab is now addressing this important question, with quite a few surprising results!

Proud moment: Any time one of my former student or postdoc trainees does well in their career.

Nominator comment: “The most important cannabis researcher in the world today.”

4.-David (Dedi) Meiri

Assistant Professor, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel

Career highlight: When my group discovered three specific cannabinoids that kill leukemia cancer cells. Clinical trials are now starting based on our work.

Scientific hero: Raphael Mechoulam, one of the greatest Israeli scientists and the father of cannabis research from the 1960s until the present day. He deserves a Nobel prize for his achievements.

What’s next? Our goal is to correlate the action of compounds in cannabis to the role of the endocannabinoid system in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

5.-Melanie Kelly

Professor of Pharmacology, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Anesthesia, Perioperative Medicine and Pain Management, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada

Motivation: To develop new drugs that target elements of the endocannabinoid system to treat inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease.

Starting out in cannabis science: A collaboration initiated in 1998 with a colleague and friend, Orlando Hung, and his research team. He approached me to work on the pharmacology of a new inhalation delivery platform for cannabinoids. He believed that there were superior and safer ways to deliver THC via inhalation that did not involve smoking and that could provide effective pain relief for patients. This was my first scientific exposure to THC and cannabinoids and kickstarted a scientific journey for me in endocannabinoid research that now spans more than two decades.

The next 10 years: This is an exciting time in endocannabinoid research due to the high level of public interest and the changed political landscape for cannabis. I strongly believe that the next decade will lead to a greater understanding of the body’s endocannabinoid system and result in breakthrough new therapeutics. Production, analysis and manufacturing technologies that are emerging in the cannabis industry will drive innovation elsewhere.


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