NDRI Seminar: The evolution of synthetic cannabinoid new psychoactive substances

Presented by Dr Samuel Banister, Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry with the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney

Wednesday 20 June 2018 @ 1pm-2pm
Technology Park, Building 603, Level 2 Seminar Room (Room 213), Sarich Way, Bentley, WA (map)

Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) are the largest and most chemically diverse class of new psychoactive substances (NPS); more than 230 examples from over 100 countries have been reported since 2008. The earliest SCRAs were repurposed directly from historical scientific publications and pharmaceutical patents, however, the SCRA marketplace is highly dynamic and chemists are constantly modifying structures to circumvent legislation. Compared to early examples, current SCRAs are increasingly associated with serious adverse health effects, including mass overdoses and deaths. Using a proactive, multidisciplinary approach, we have systematically explored the chemistry, metabolism and activity of emergent SCRAs in a constantly evolving chemical landscape. We have generated a library of forensically relevant SCRAs and metabolites and evaluated their ability to activate cannabinoid receptors and to produce cannabimimetic effects in rodents. The chemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology of SCRA NPS will be presented, as well as our ongoing efforts to characterise the off-target activity and signaling bias of SCRAs to identify a molecular basis for clinical toxicity.

Dr Samuel Banister obtained his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Sydney in 2011, where his doctoral thesis focused on the development of sigma receptor ligands for the treatment of substance abuse. He moved to the Drug Discovery Unit of the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) in Sydney in 2012 before being recruited to the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford in 2014 where he continued development of this class as radiotracers for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of neuroinflammation. In February this year, Dr Banister returned to Australia as Team Leader in Medicinal Chemistry with the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics (Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney) where he will be applying his knowledge of the drug development process to design cannabinoid-based therapeutics for conditions including pediatric epilepsy and neuropathic pain.

RSVP to ndri@curtin.edu.au

Posted on: 17 May 2018

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