Engineering Nanotechnology Formulations of Cannabinoids for Treatment of COVID-19-Induced Lung Inflammation

COVID-19 results in an increased expression of certain cytokines (i.e. chemicals produced by the body in response to an infection) that may result in inflammation, leading to organ and tissue damage. Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) have been shown to have anti-inflammatory activity. For example, CBD has been shown to reduce the expression of cytokines in animal models of lung inflammation. We hypothesize that the anti-inflammatory effect of CBD and CBG may offer some therapeutic benefit to patients with COVID-19.

Design and Evaluation of Microfluidics Based RT-LAMP Device

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of lives have been lost and society has dramatically changed. However, as these restrictions are eased, rapid and accurate testing is the only way to keep this virus under control. Serapis Labs is working on an at-home test for COVID-19 to screen for current infection. The goal is to provide an inexpensive test, can be shipped via mail, and gives results within an hour. This project focuses on developing nucleic acid testing techniques into a format that meets that goal.

Development of an assay for personalized synergistic blockade immunotherapy treatment of COVD-19 patients using CytoFind™

The current COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges to healthcare professionals as they deal with managing the primary disease and it many complications. The proposal aims to develop, test, and validate an assay to detect quickly immune checkpoint targets in T cells in peripheral blood with high specificity and sensitivity using a diagnostic device, CytoFind, that can capture rare circulating cells in whole blood samples.

Investigation into molecular mechanism of CRV431, a cyclophilin inhibitor, for anti-fibrotic and anti-oncogenic potential in various animal models

Various liver disorders such as fatty liver, liver fibrosis, liver failure and liver cancer, are major healthcare burden and associated with high rate of mortality. Once fatty liver or fibrosis progress to cirrhosis or liver failure, its treatment is challenging due to lack of an effective treatment. Currently available treatment for liver cancer is few anticancer drugs or surgical ablation with liver transplantation. However, available pharmacological interventions have not succeeded fully.

Improving Q-RT-PCR screening for COVID-19 by tracking viral variants

This project will extend on our labs initial findings that current q-RT-PCR based screening strategies for COVID-19 patients can fall within variant regions of the SARS-CoV2 viral sequence and may potentially lead to false negative results. This project, in collaboration with BioXplor will lead to the development of online bioinformatics tool that will allow tracking of viral mutations as they evolve as well as optimal primer design for testing assays that avoid hotspot mutations leading to more robust and accurate patients screening.

Targeting SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) methyltransferases (nsp10-nsp14 and nsp10-nsp16 complexes) toward developing small molecule antiviral therapeutics

COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to standstill with more than 3 million people infected and more than 200 000 mortality so far. It has literally brought the health care systems in many countries to the breaking point, if not beyond. The economic consequences have been devastating with millions of people out of work. We are taking a novel approach by focusing on two SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) methyltransferases that are essential for viral replication. Both enzymes (nsp14 and nsp16) are druggable.

Chemical targeting of HDAC6 as a strategy for anti-viral drug discovery

The emergence of viral pandemics, exemplified by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), has exposed the urgent need for the development of viral infection therapeutics. In a short span of time, more than 1.5 million individuals have been infected and there have been nearly 90, 000 deaths worldwide. Our objective is to pharmacologically validate a new strategy for viral infection therapeutics by designing molecules that inhibit HDAC6, a protein implicated in viral entry.

Development of a platform for the passive transdermal delivery of macromolecules possessing a wide range of physicochemical properties

The goal of this project is to develop patches which are able to deliver a variety of large molecules through the skin. To date, patches developed for delivery tend to fall under a “lock-and-key” model, where one material will only be able to hold/deliver one drug. Furthermore, the drugs delivered are limited to small molecules in small doses, limiting the types of drugs that can be delivered through patches.

Novel treatments for inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disease of the gut and is recognized as a serious medical condition associated with a profoundly negative impact on patients’ quality of life. Currently, there are no widely acknowledged causes of this disorder and no effective treatments available. Panag Pharma Inc. is a Halifax based drug company which focuses on development of novel therapeutic treatments which can be used to alleviate both pain and inflammation associated with ICD. The goal of our research is to provide IBD patients with symptom and pain relief, as well as to improve outcome.

Imaging MAO-B in Cannabis Use and Cannabis Use Disorder with Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug worldwide. However, there is limited understanding of factors supporting cannabis use (CU) and the development of cannabis use disorder (CUD). There is also a clear association between mood disorders and CUD, but the mechanism underlying this relationship is unclear. There is evidence that major depression is associated with elevated monoamine oxidases (MAO). Tobacco use is also associated with an inhibition of MAOs (both subtype A and B). Our hypothesis is that the same inhibition is happening in the brain of people exposed to cannabis.