Investigating the Role of Novel Fatty Acid-Binding Protein (FABP) Inhibitors as Treatments for Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders and chronic stress represent major healthcare and economic burdens worldwide. Approximately 75% of Canadians who use health services for a mental illness present with anxiety disorders which may affect up to 10% of the population in terms of lifetime occurrence. Despite the large prevalence of anxiety-related disorders in Canada, there are currently a limited range of effective pharmacotherapeutic interventions. In addition, all currently effective anti-anxiety medications are linked to serious side-effects, including drug dependence and withdrawal, cognitive impairments and metabolic symptoms. Our project is characterizing novel pharmacological compounds that inhibit a protein called FAB-P. This can modulate the brain’s own naturally occurring cannabinoid system. This compound displays strong potential as an effective anti-anxiety medication with fewer side-effects than traditional anxiolytic drugs. Remarkably, these compounds can bypass cannabinoid receptors in the brain and produce anti-anxiety effects without the unwanted side-effects associated with other cannabis drugs and formulations.