A Greenwood Genetic Center researcher is taking part in a clinical trial using cannabidiol gel to treat a condition called Fragile X syndrome.
Carrie Buchanan, who works at center’s Greenville office is a principal researcher studying the effect ZYN002 has on 204 patients between the ages of 3 and 17 in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
A synthetically produced gel with the consistency of hand sanitizer, it’s rubbed onto the arms or shoulders of patients twice a day.
“It’s important to do the research to figure out who it helps, how it helps and what the proper dosage is,” Buchanan said. “I’m just real excited about the product. I think it’s going to help fill a big void.”
Fragile X syndrome is a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental problems, including learning disabilities and cognitive impairment. It’s found in 1 of every 4,000 males and 1 of every 8,000 females.
With no therapeutic option currently available, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals is sponsoring CONNECT-FX, or Clinical Study of Cannabidiol in Children and Adolescents with Fragile X, using a transdermal gel that gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
The gel does not contain THC, which leads to the high associated with cannabis or marijuana.
Following a 14-week, placebo-controlled study, every enrolled patient receives a year’s supply of the medication at no cost to them.
Fragile X is a leading gene cause of autism, though the conditions are separate.
However, if the treatment proves effective, the gel could be modified to help address symptoms of autism or other genetic disorders.
“I’m sure the hope is to eventually get it into the broader autism population,” Buchanan said. “We’re starting with Fragile X, but I think the goal here is to see if it can work with other neurodevelopmental disorders.”