Breaking new ground: Zelda to test effects of cannabis on diabetic dementia

Breaking new ground: Zelda to test effects of cannabis on diabetic dementia

Bio-pharmaceutical company Zelda Therapeutics (ASX: ZLD) has partnered with Curtin University to test the effects of cannabis on cognitive decline, one of the most debilitating symptoms of diabetes.

Research is now underway on the effects of cannabinoid-based medicine on capillary dysfunction in the brain, a condition which often leads to dementia and similar illnesses.

There are around 422 million diabetics globally who are almost three times more likely to develop dementia due to their condition.

Harry Karelis, executive chairman of Zelda, says the new research will service a growing market as global costs associated with dementia rises above US$1 trillion in 2018.

"This study has the potential to demonstrate that daily dosing of certain cannabinoids can provide some type of long-term benefit to diabetes sufferers and moderate the effect of capillary damage," says Karelis.

"The market for cannabis-based therapeutics and wellness products is growing very rapidly. Positive results in this study will open up a significant market opportunity for Zelda."

This research won't be the first time Zelda has studied the effects of cannabis on major cognitive disorders.

In December 2017, Zelda Therapeutics partnered up with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to study the effects of medical cannabis treatment in paediatric autism.

The company also received the green light from the Human Research Ethics Committee and Therapeutic Goods Committee to investigate the effects of medicinal cannabis on chronic insomnia patients, reportedly an Australian first.

Curtin University associate professor Ryu Takechi will lead a team of academics over the next 12-18 months on the diabetic study.

The research will take place on well-validated animal models and Takechi says the team is keen to break new ground in the field.

"Our team are at the forefront of research in this area and are excited by the potential of cannabinoids to conduct these pioneering studies that may potentially benefit the large community of diabetes patients who are at significantly higher risk of developing dementia," says Takechi.

Shares in Zelda Therapeutics are currently trading flat at $0.11 at the time of writing (10:20am AEST).

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