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Marijuana-derived drug suppresses bladder pain in animal models


IP 751, a potent synthetic analog of a metabolite of THC--the principal active ingredient of marijuana--effectively suppresses pain in hypersensitive bladder disorders such as interstitial cystitis (IC), according to animal model study results presented today at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

IP 751 is a potent anti-inflammatory and a powerful analgesic, although the mechanisms by which it works are unknown. However, since the drug is insoluble in water, its administration directly into the bladder is difficult.

For the study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine addressed the hydrophobic properties of IP 751 by introducing the drug into a liposome, a tiny sac surrounded by fatty acids, allowing for the drug to be introduced directly into the bladders of rat models of varying degrees of bladder inflammation. IP 751 significantly suppressed bladder overactivity in both animal models. Bladder overactivity is the underlying cause of irritation and pain in the bladder.

"Interstitial cystitis is a difficult disease to treat, and not all treatments work well on all patients," said Michael B. Chancellor, M.D., professor of urology and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Any new option we can give our patients to alleviate their painful symptoms is very important."

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 700,000 Americans have IC; 90 percent are women. IC is one of the chronic pelvic pain disorders, defined by recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvic region. Symptoms vary and can include any combination of mild to severe pain, pressure and tenderness in the bladder and pelvic area, and an urgent and/or frequent need to urinate. In IC, the bladder wall may become scarred or irritated, and pinpoint bleeding may appear on the bladder wall.

Clare Collins | EurekAlert!
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