Vincenzo Di Marzo is one of the major exponents in the world of cannabinoid research.
Director of research at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, of the National Council of Research (ICB-CNR) of Pozzuoli (NA), coordinator of the endocannabinoid research group, Di Marzo is an associate professor of the Department of pharmacology and toxicology, at the Medical College of Virginia, and at the Virginia Commonwealth University of Richmond.
From 2012 he has been nominated honorary professor at the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom.
Research in Canada
In July, 2016 the Canadian federal government announced to award Vincenzo Di Marzo a Canada excellence research chair (Cerc) to carry out studies on the “endocannabinoidoma-microbiome axis in metabolic health” at the Laval University of Quebec City
The Cerc was the first in the world to engage in this object of study, financed by the Canadian Government and the University of Laval, while the regional government of Quebec provided the necessary infrastructures.
The objective of the research, lasting seven years, is to focalize on analysing the bond between the intestinal microbiome and the system of endocannabinoids, which, when stimulated, induces us to eat more and to accumulate fat.
This system has an essential role in the control and management of the energy metabolism and its activity is modulated by stress factors and changes in diet.
A recent research coordinated by doctor Di Marzo has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as its object, the most frequent inherited muscle disease. The ones most affected by it are boys, one every five thousand.
The onset is early and, besides the skeletal muscles, many organs are affected, like the heart, the lungs and the brain. Today there is still no cure available for this pathology.
The team guided by Vincenzo Di Marzo, discovered how in an animal model it was possible to significantly slow the development of the disease down and to recuperate the lost motor functions through those medical drugs capable of controlling the function of cannabinoids produced by our own organism.
“Together with our researchers we have been committed for years studying the ever growing number of molecules making up the system of endocannabinoids and the receptors and enzymes to which they are connected from a chemical-structural and functional point of view - Di Marzo explains in a press release issued by the CNR - in many cases our studies demonstrate how the alterations in this system are associated with various neurological pathologies like senile dementia, epilepsy, acute and chronic pain and to different forms of tumors. For some of them, which are not or little treatable from a clinical point of view, drugs acting, amongst others, by controlling the endocannabinoid functions, are being received positively”.