Our unique vision.

There has been significant interest in the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in ASD for many years.

There is also now significant interest in the connection between the gut and the brain (the gut-brain-axis) in many inflammatory and neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Kingdom Therapeutics has brought these two parallel sciences together via our lead product KT-20610 which targets the endocannabinoid system in both the brain and the gut.

The Gut-Brain-ECS Axis In ASD.

Robust science underpins our approach.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition marked by enduring deficits in social communication, repetitive behaviours, and irritability. Cooccurring gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are prevalent among children with ASD, often associated with increased gut permeability and inflammation. Recent research has unveiled a robust connection between the presence of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and the severity of ASD-related symptoms and behaviours.

There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests a potential link between GI disruptions, GI hyperpermeability and changes in the gut microbiota residing within the GI tract. Gut microbiota assumes a critical role in metabolism, immune equilibrium, and possible modulation of the central nervous system (CNS) known as the gut-brain axis.

The presence of imbalanced gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, has been implicated in several biological mechanisms associated with ASD, frequently linked with compromised mucosal integrity and gut hyperpermeability, allowing bacterial metabolites to readily cross the intestinal barrier and enter the bloodstream, activating the release of inflammatory cytokines into the bloodstream, which could subsequently access various regions of the brain, thereby contributing to the underlying mechanisms of autism.

It is also thought the opening of tight junctions leads to  altered permeability and that this plays a critical role in GI hyperpermeability and is found to be correlated with heightened symptoms of hyperactivity and impaired social functioning.

The endocannabinoid (eCB) system is responsible for modulation of many aspects of the central and peripheral nervous systems as well as the gastrointestinal tract.

There is compelling evidence that compounds that target CB1 and CB2 inhibitors have potential to improve both behavioural and GI issues, which is what has driven Kingdom Therapeutics interest in their role in in ASD.

Research in animals and humans suggest that eCB signalling influences social behaviour and administration of certain cannabinoids has been shown to improve ASD behaviours. The eCB system also assumes a pivotal role in upholding digestive processes and overall homeostasis in a number of inflammatory and GI related conditions. It intrinsically engages with the gut microbiota, regulates intestinal permeability, and modulates immune responses, thereby exerting an influence on gut-brain communication facilitated through the vagus nerve.

Several studies have indicated that cannabinoids exert protective effects on the gut microbiome, demonstrating a potential in influencing GI function. Administration of cannabinoids led to discernible changes in the gut microbiome and reduced neuroinflammation in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.

CBD has demonstrated favourable outcomes within a mouse model of induced colitis, by reducing oedema, ameliorating histological signs of colon damage and down regulating the expression of cytokines. These observations collectively indicate the potential of cannabinoids in impacting behaviour, gut health and broader systemic inflammation, offering a beneficial effect on behaviours GI permeability and the gut microbiome