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CBD-based drug shows promise for treatment of heart failure in early studies

MRX1 demonstrated “cardioprotective effects” in a pre-clinical study.

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UK life sciences company, Ananda Developments, has announced that its CBD-based drug demonstrated “cardioprotective effects” in a pre-clinical study and may hold promise as a potential treatment for heart failure. 

The company recently shared results from preclinical studies investigating the efficacy of its Patent Pending formulation, MRX1, in treating cardiac fibrosis and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).

Cardiac fibrosis is a condition characterised by the thickening and stiffening of the heart tissue, often leading to impaired heart function. 

HFpEF is a type of heart failure that occurs when the heart muscle contracts normally, but the ventricles are unable to relax properly causing an increase of pressure inside the heart. This leads to symptoms of heart failure despite a normal ejection fraction, which measures the percentage of blood leaving the heart each time it contracts.

It is thought to account for at around 50% of all chronic heart failure cases and is a common cause of hospitalisation, impaired quality of life, restricted functional capacity, and mortality. 

Rates of HFpEF, which is linked to poor diet and lifestyle, are said to be rising in line with an ageing population, but there are as yet no specific treatments with proven efficacy.

The study in more detail

The research, led by Dr Nadine Godsman and Dr Sarah Walsh at Robert Gordon University, under the guidance of Ananda’s Scientific Advisory Board member, Professor Cherry Wainwright, was presented at the Federation of European Pharmacological Societies (EPHAR) conference in Athens on 25th June.

The team aimed to evaluate the cardioprotective effects of MRX1—a broad-spectrum oral tincture containing CBD isolate and additional terpenes— in a preclinical HFpEF model, and to explore whether terpenes could enhance these properties.

Male mice were divided into two groups, one of which received a high-fat diet with L-NAME, which was used to stress the mice heart and replicate the effects of HFpEF, while the control group was fed a normal diet. 

MRX1 or an altered MRX1 terpene blend was administered orally in the last two weeks of the seven-week study. 

The researchers then carried out detailed assessments of cardiac function, plasma CBD levels, and molecular markers of heart failure, fibrosis, and inflammation.

According to their findings, MRX1 was able to return heart and lung weights to ‘near-normal’ levels and demonstrated ‘good oral bioavailability and effectively exerts anti-hypertensive, anti-hypertrophic, and anti-fibrotic effects’.

The altered terpene blend ‘did not significantly enhance these effects’, indicating that the current formulation of MRX1 is ‘optimal and dosed at a clinically effective amount’.

The authors conclude: “The findings suggest that MRX1 is a potent cardioprotective agent that could be instrumental in treating HFpEF and potentially other cardiac diseases. 

“Ananda is excited about the potential for these advancements for future clinical use and is currently investigating next steps on how to undertake additional studies to conduct the further research and development necessary to bring this promising treatment to clinical use.”

Addressing areas of unmet clinical need

MRX1 is currently being investigated as a potential treatment for chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) and endometriosis in NHS-funded clinical trials at the University of Edinburgh. 

Ananda’s executive chairman, Charles Morgan, commented: “We are delighted to share this profound pre-clinical data with the market which establishes that MRX1, our patent pending drug candidate, has a clinical impact. 

“HFpEF is an area of high, unmet medical need and we are excited by the opportunity this presents to add another addressable condition to our portfolio, alongside our existing two Phase II trials investigating Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Endometriosis and other conditions that we are working up trials for.  

“Many thanks to the team at RGU and everyone at Ananda for all their efforts in bringing this project to completion. We look forward to updating all our stakeholders on our further progress in due course.”

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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