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.
This is a nicotinic receptor, and a central factor in the body’s method of controlling inflammation.
Rothbard JB, Rothbard JJ, Soares L, Fathman CG, and Steinman L. (2018)
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115:7081-7086.
Lawrence Steinman and Jonathan Rothbard in the Steinman Laboratory of Stanford University
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:
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.