Dr. Guy Cabral: Yea, some laboratory is very interested in how macrophages become activated subsequent to HIV infection and cross the blood brain barrier.
Seems to be a serious problem with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders because most of the problem seems to be associated with inflammation within that compartment.
So we're coming up with strategies to see how we can ablate that inflammatory process within the central nervous system.
And we think that cannabinoids, or at least select cannabinoids have the potential to be a major player in ablating that kind of cascadive inflammatory response.
It's so important because in view of the fact that people are getting highly active antiretroviral therapy still there seem to be problems with neurocognitive disorders and brain inflammation due to various aspects of HIV infection.
So this approach might engender some new way to have an adjunctive therapy that can be applied in the age of highly active antiretroviral therapy.
So the interesting thing is that whenever you come up with some kind of therapeutic approach new disease syndrome seems to come into play, and so we always have to be ahead of the curve, and come up with some kinds of ways that we can tackle these new challenges.
This is why we are concentrating on cannabinoids because they have relatively low toxicity and targets specific molecular targets.
There might be a way to target specific cells within the central nervous system. They play a role in engendering this pro-inflammatory cascade.
We found that HIV engenders a tremendous pro-inflammatory response. This involves a lot of cytokines, and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
As well as promotes the inflammation or the chemotaxis or the migration of inflammatory cells into the brain. And so some select cannabinoids have the potential to downplay or to down regulate that kind of inflammatory response.
And so we've been focusing on how we can target inflammatory cells within the brain,immune cells that become excited following HIV inflammation so that we can dampen the inflammatory response.
We think that cannabinoids may serve as powerful tools for ablating that response.
The next step is to find out the specific genes that regulate these responses. And to try to find the specific targets on these cells that will have specific molecules or cannabinoids, so that we don't engender any unthwarted side effects.
And so specificity of action is one of the things we are really focusing on, and we are looking at the intercellular events that may be involved that can serve in pathways that may serve as targets for manipulation.