WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- In a trial to prevent brain damage and seizures for newborns with the use of a cannabis-type drug, a baby boy from the UK is the first to undergo the testing.
- The researchers will be testing if a cannabis-based medicine is safe and effective for babies affected by Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).
- Follow-ups with the participants’ families are after 30 days, six months, and 12 months after their discharge from the hospital.
Born in Norfolk on March 11, Oscar Parodi was born in the emergency C-section of Norwich University Hospital and brought to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Fetuses that do not get enough oxygen or blood from the placenta have no readily available medicines for the treatment of Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). Therefore, the team shall be investigating if a cannabis-extracted drug will be an effective and safe way to treat infants affected by HIE, a common root cause of seizures in infants leading to the death of brain matter.
The infants who are part of the randomized trial will also have standardized treatments for HIE. Furthermore, each will be arbitrarily assigned a placebo or the research drug the soonest possible beginning with hypothermia treatment, and 12 hours after they are born.
The next step in their experiment will be to take samples of the babies’ blood and measure the synapses in the brain. Participants’ families will receive a follow up after 30 days, six months, and 12 months after they leave the hospital.
Thought as a world’s first, the medicine to be tested is administered through the veins, or intravenously. The infants of the trial will receive 1/30th of the usual dosage of the drug to minimize levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical contained in cannabis which gives users a high.
Around Europe and the UK, other NICUs are also taking part in phase one of the trial which will last for about a year.