Australia’s Zelda Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ZLD) has teamed up with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to study the pharmacology of cannabinoids, with a focus on the potential for treating autism.
As we mentioned on Monday, Zelda stock went into a trading halting pending the announcement of a “significant partnership with a US-based research institution.”
CHOP, established in 1855, was the USA’s first hospital devoted exclusively to the care of children and is recognised as one of the nation’s leading pediatric hospitals.
The initial observation study, expected to commence early next year, will lay the groundwork for a possible future clinical trial. Preliminary results from the trial are expected six months after its commencement.
“Through this alliance, we have the potential to deliver very robust clinical trial data which we hope opens up cannabinoids as a safe, effective and affordable treatment option for patients in need,” said Harry Karelis, Zelda’s Executive Chairman.
One of those involved in helping to establish the collaboration between Zelda and CHOP together was Erica Daniels, founder of Hope Grows for Autism. Ms. Daniels has been administering a medical cannabis product to her son Leo, who is autistic, and who has benefited from the use of a spray containing cannabis extract.
“For too long, patients and their families have been missing out on genuine therapeutic options with the potential to transform lives,” said Ms. Daniels. “I am thrilled that I have been involved in bringing together CHOP and Zelda to try and make a difference.”
In September, we reported Zelda’s sponsorship of a small trial in Chile using cannabis extracts to treat autism, results from which reportedly indicated cannabis extracts are more effective than conventional medications and are generally well tolerated. The patients involved had not responded well to conventional medicines. 71.4% of patients receiving cannabis were observed to have improved in at least one core symptom and 66.7% showed significant overall improvement.
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how patients interact with their environment and other people. Its impact can be anything from mild to profound, requiring around-the-clock care. Primarily affecting boys, an estimated one in 100 people has autism; which translates to approximately 230,000 Australians according to Autism Spectrum Australia.