A synthetic cannabinoid derivative with no psychotropic properties will be tested for the treatment of joint inflammation in lupus in a clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. If proven effective, the drug, called JBT-101 (lenabasum), could provide an alternative to current immunosuppressant therapies for patients with lupus.
Meggan Mackay, MD, MS, lead investigator and professor at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY, will examine the effects of JBT-101 on musculoskeletal pain in patients with lupus. JBT-101 is an oral selective cannabinoid receptor type 2 agonist that has a similar structure to tetrahydrocannabinol but is designed to preferentially activate receptors on immune cells and therefore does not affect brain function.
“It has been shown in pre-clinical studies that JBT-101 suppresses inflammatory proteins, decreases immune cell migration and promotes molecules that support the resolution of inflammation without suppressing the immune system,” said Dr. Mackay. “We are extremely excited to have the support of the NIH and Corbus Pharmaceuticals to test this investigational drug candidate in lupus as it has proven to be successful in smaller studies of other disorders where inflammation is a symptom. Given the significant side effects of current treatments for lupus, this drug may have enormous potential for patients who do not want to take immunosuppressants, or who haven’t experienced relief from current therapies.”
Feinstein Institute, NIH launch groundbreaking clinical trial for new lupus medication [press release]. Manhasset, NY: The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research; PRNewswire-USNewswire; April 5, 2018.