α7nAChR - Preclinical

α7nAChR - Preclinical


The α7nAChR program is based at Stanford University in the US.

Led by Professor Lawrence Steinman and Dr Jonathan Rothbard, who have been working on this project for more than a decade already, 180 Life Sciences is developing a treatment for ulcerative colitis in ex-smokers.

What is α7nAChR?

This is a nicotinic receptor, and a central factor in the body’s method of controlling inflammation.

Lawrence Steinman and Jonathan Rothbard in the Steinman Laboratory of Stanford University

Why α7nachr?

Nicotine binds α7 and is a known immune suppressive. A subgroup of patients who cease smoking go on to acquire ulcerative colitis.

180 Life Sciences believes that α7 treatment provides a solution: without the addictive qualities of smoking, an α7-based drug will reduce ulcerative colitis in ex-smokers.


α7nAChR holds advantages over existing treatments:

  • Fewer opportunistic infections
  • Reduced risk of kidney damage
  • Higher anticipated success rate

α7nAChR drugs were touted by Big Pharma as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. However, despite success in the safety clinical trials, it completely failed to treat the disease.

180 Life Sciences is repurposing these drugs, and will therefore be able to start clinical trials in phase 2 – saving considerably on costs.