Trinity and Artelo Biosciences to investigate cancer ‘wasting syndrome’

3 Feb 2021

Image: © Monet/

Researchers will investigate pre-clinical models of cancer cachexia, a wasting syndrome that is said to effect up to 80pc of cancer patients.

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin will collaborate with biopharma company Artelo Biosciences to investigate potential treatments for cancer cachexia.

Cachexia, also known as wasting syndrome, is where there is severe loss of appetite, weight loss, loss of strength and muscle mass. While it’s estimated that half of all cancer patients develop cachexia, this can be as high as 80pc of patients with an advanced form of cancer.

Founded in 2011, Artelo Biosciences focuses on the development of therapeutics that modulate endogenous signalling pathways, including the endocannabinoid system, which is composed of neurotransmitters active in the central nervous system.

‘There is the potential of a significant impact on patients’ quality of life’

The Trinity team will work with Artelo’s peripherally restricted cannabinoid receptor agonist, ART27.13, in pre-clinical models of human cancer cachexia. The team will be led by Richard Porter, associate professor in Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology.

“I am excited to partner with Artelo to expand the research around ART27.13 for the treatment of cachexia,” said Porter.

“Cachexia, or wasting syndrome, causes metabolic abnormalities resulting in muscle protein loss that is often present in patients with advanced cancer. Even though cancer-induced cachexia has very significant clinical consequences, there is unfortunately a limited amount of research surrounding the pre-clinical mechanisms leading to the syndrome.

“As a result, I believe this is a very important and exciting area of research as there is the potential of a significant impact on patients’ quality of life during a very vulnerable time in their lives.”

Artelo’s president and CEO, Gregory Gorgas, said the research will be key to advancing the team’s understanding of ART27.13’s breadth of activity.

“Dr Porter has over 30 years of research experience and is an expert in metabolism and bioenergetics. Our goal is to combine this data with the results of our ongoing clinical research in cancer anorexia, which we believe will increase our understanding of potential indications and may enhance future licensing and partnering discussions around ART27.13.”

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic