Kannalife Sciences, Inc. has announced that Dr. Bennet Omalu, MD has joined its Scientific Advisory Board to assist the company in the advancement of its research and development efforts toward the use of cannabinoid therapeutics for the treatment of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Dr. Omalu is the forensic pathologist responsible for conducting the full autopsy of Mike Webster, the deceased NFL Hall of Fame center for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was through his examination of Mike Webster that led to his discovery of CTE.
In August of 2014, Kannalife Sciences signed a license agreement with the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) for U.S. Patent 6,630,507, “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants” (the “‘507 Patent”) to develop a treatment for CTE using cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are any of a group of related compounds that include the non-psychoactive Cannabidiol as well as Tetrahydrocannabinol; the active constituent of cannabis (marijuana).
Dr. Omalu stated, “I am humbled and honored by the invitation to join the medical advisory board of Kannalife. Together we can make great strides in the diagnosis and management of CTE and other neurodegenerative diseases in living subjects.”
Kannalife’s CEO, Dean Petkanas, added, “It is with great pleasure that we have the opportunity to work with Dr. Omalu on the therapeutic side of CTE. We recognize his commitment to helping people combat disease and applaud his remarkable career and body of knowledge in this space. I believe with Dr. Omalu’s contribution towards improving our visibility into the pathology of this disease, we will hopefully bring forth a novel therapeutic drug into the market and make a difference in the lives of many who suffer with CTE.”
Acute, late stage CTE is a form of encephalopathy, resulting in the accumulation of tau protein that is marked by a sudden and rapidly progressive neuro-degeneration and atrophy of the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex and amygdala regions in the human brain. Unfortunately, early signs are difficult to detect and rapid succession of the disease leads to suicidal death. Postmortem diagnosis typically reveals the extent of the disease.
Dr. Omalu was the first to identify, describe and name CTE as a disease entity in football players and wrestlers. He is currently the Forensic Pathologist/Neuropathologist of San Joaquin County, California, and is the President and Medical Director of Bennet Omalu Pathology. He also serves as a Clinical Associate Professor at the UC, Davis Medical Center, Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
Dr. Omalu has testified twice before the United States Congress and has provided hundreds of testimonies as an expert witness in federal courts and state courts across the United States. Dr. Omalu is the focal point of the highly acclaimed PBS’ FRONTLINE documentary called “League of Denial,” which can be found here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/league-of-denial/