Clinical stage pharmaceutical development company Incannex Healthcare (ASX: IHL) has received positive results from an additional in vivo study in assessing the anti-inflammatory capabilities of its lead candidate IHL-675A in the prevention and treatment of sepsis associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (SAARDS).
The results indicate that the cannabidiol-hydroxychloroquine combination drug has what the company describes as “superior anti-inflammatory activity” compared to just CBD and HCQ when tested on a rodent pulmonary inflammation model.
Incannex chief executive officer and managing director Joel Latham said IHL-675A was consistently showing stronger capabilities than CBD alone in the company’s trials.
“Continued research will reveal how important this will be to the cannabinoid sector in light of [global studies] on CBD and its application to inflammatory conditions,” he said.
“The synergistic action of IHL-675A allows us to substantially expand its potential uses and presents new patient treatment opportunities.”
Ten groups of six mice were each pre-treated with either CBD, HCQ, or IHL-675A prior to intratracheal administration of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (which is inhaled to act as an inflammatory stimulus in the lungs).
A group of mice which were not given LPS was also included as a control.
The rodents’ lungs were flushed with a saline solution 24-hours after LPS administration and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was collected and analysed for cytokine levels using a Luminex-based assay.
Cytokines are proteins which mediate the inflammatory response, with a reduction in cytokine levels being indicative of reduced inflammation.
A white blood cell count was also performed on the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.
When inflammation occurs in the lungs, white blood cells are recruited as part of the inflammatory response – a reduction in these is also indicative of reduced inflammation.
The study found the rodent groups to have normalised cytokine levels compared to the vehicle-treated group, while the group treated with IHL-675A had reduced levels of all assessed inflammatory cytokines to a greater extent than the groups treated with CBD or HCQ alone.
White blood cell counts were normalised using the same method used for cytokines, and IHL-675A reduced white blood cell counts to a greater extent than CBD or HCQ alone.
These results indicate that IHL-675A has superior anti-inflammatory activity compared to CBD and HCQ in a rodent pulmonary inflammation model.
Following the results relevant to SAARDS, Incannex assessed the anti-inflammatory effect of IHL-675A on pulmonary neutrophilia which is a primary underlying cause of indications such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and bronchitis.
The company reported “encouraging results” which facilitate a substantial expansion of the potential uses for IHL-675A and represent new patient treatment opportunities.
COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease causing obstructed airflow from the lungs and is characterised by symptoms including breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing.
It is typically caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke.
People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions.
Asthma is a condition in which inflammation causes the airways to narrow, swell and produce extra mucus, triggering a whistling sound (wheezing) during breathing and shortness of breath.
For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance while for others, it can be a chronic problem which interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
The global COPD and asthma drugs market is expected to reach $66.19 billion by 2022, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7% from 2016 to 2022.