Zebrafish help scientists speed up tests for medical cannabis strains – ISRAEL21c

Different strains of cannabis are helpful for treating different medical conditions. Testing each type for its therapeutic potential using mice or people is time-consuming.

Israeli researchers discovered they can speed up the process by using zebrafish.

Camanex, the applied science arm for cannabis of MIGAL Galilee Research Institute, developed the fishy new testing model with Canonic, a subsidiary of computational biology company Evogene.

With the help of the zebrafish model, cannabis companies can perform a preliminary rapid and accurate sorting of medical cannabis strains with potential to treat various indications. They can later analyze exactly which active ingredient is responsible for the therapeutic effect.

The zebrafish system for rapid identification already has been conducted to determine the therapeutic potential of cannabis strains for sleep problems, seizures, Parkinson’s disease and pain. Additional indications to be studied include autism and anxiety.

Why zebrafish? Earlier this year, Bar-Ilan University researchers explained that they carried out sleep research on zebrafish because these creatures’ brain activity isn’t hidden behind a skull, making it easier to monitor. Also, zebrafish have a brain structure similar to ours, only simpler.

Camanex and Canonic work together from the stage of cultivating varieties in greenhouses to the work in the laboratory. Their accumulated knowledge is expected to contribute to the development of strains that have clear capabilities for various medical indications as well as strains with high commercial potential.

Canonic contributes Evogene’s technology, which provides genomic information on the plants, in developing targeted cannabis strains.

Bar Nevo, CEO of Camanex, added, “Today we know how to map the medical implications of the same varieties from the cultivation companies in Israel and around the world quickly and economically for investors.”

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