Update from the CRIS Director
Learn about CRIS's next steps, research objectives and ongoing initiatives
I write to you today hoping this finds you safe, in good health, and adjusting to a world impacted by the novel coronavirus.
While there are still many problems to solve, I wanted to share with you how our center, with your continued support and participation, has used our knowledge and resources to positively impact the global community during this pandemic as well as update you on the next steps we’re taking as a science-based center.
When CRIS was formed we knew that the world needed a trusted source of information around ingredient safety. The novel coronavirus pandemic unveiled how powerful and trusted our center is in uncertain times.
When the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out specific recommendations to help combat COVID-19 infections, we closely reviewed the information. After going through their materials, it was clear there were information gaps on specific ingredients that these organizations could not easily fill, so we took the opportunity to help support their efforts by crafting content that explained specific recommendations in more depth.
Within days we saw a positive impact.
More than 350K users have visited our website to get this critical information, more than 26K people have viewed our instructional video and gifs, and we were able to broadcast our content via WKAR (public radio) to the larger community.
While we have temporarily suspended research related to cannabidiol (CBD), a priority area for the coming year, we are looking to resume our studies in the next several weeks as the university begins to reopen laboratories. We also remain in close contact with organizations that may want to partner with CRIS to continue developing our CBD research portfolio.
We’ve continued to put together a comprehensive white paper on CBD focused on the safety, major toxicological data gaps, and legal obstacles facing CBD-containing consumer products. We look forward to submitting this paper to the peer-reviewed literature in the coming months.
In addition, CRIS responded to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Opinion on "Risk to Human Health Related to the Presence of Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Food” during the open public comment period. We appreciate the opportunity to assist the EFSA in building a scientific consensus based on the state-of-the-science on food safety and PFAS.
While we are still adjusting to this new normal, we want to assure you that we will continue with our research, education, and communication agenda. You and your continued support make our research and outreach possible, and we thank you for being part of the CRIS team.
Norb Kaminski, Ph.D.
Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Director, Center for Research on Ingredient Safety
Director, Institute for Integrative Toxicology
Michigan State University
Research Update: Addressing Critical Safety Data Gaps for Cannabidiol (CBD)
As CBD interest and use continues to grow, CRIS has undertaken two research projects to address critical data gaps in the safety of this phytocannabinoid.
Project Goal: Assess the effect of CBD on human inflammation
Based on the reported immune-modulating properties of CBD, our first project investigates the effects of CBD on human immunity, specifically human peripheral blood monocyte inflammatory responses. The study employs a comprehensive panel of pathogen-associated molecular patterns that activate monocytes to become inflammatory, by mimicking their encounter with different types of live pathogens, upon which the effects of CBD are being assessed. Learn More at http://go.msu.edu/cris-research.
Project Goal: Assess the effect of CBD on human liver function
Our second project evaluates the potential hepatotoxicity of CBD at levels relevant to human exposure and is based on reported adverse effects associated with Epidiolex (therapeutic CBD). This study uses a state-of-the-science human hepatocyte (HepaRG cells) organoid model, which is recognized for its similarities to primary liver cells and predictive capabilities. Learn More at http://go.msu.edu/cris-research.
Results and findings from both projects will be shared upon acceptance to the peer-reviewed literature.
Communication Update: Expanding Our Reach
As we’ve grown and shared important ingredient and toxicology information, we’re working to continue expanding our reach and our platform.
We’re working closely with WKAR to establish a regularly scheduled broadcast and podcast to further disseminate the research, outcomes, and science we’ve been sharing via our website and weekly blog posts.
While the breakout of the novel coronavirus has impacted our launch timeline, we’re excited about this new platform and opportunity to share CRIS information with the larger community and will keep you abreast of the premiere date.
Organization Update: Clarifying Our Research Processes
As we expand our research and outreach capacity, the CRIS Emerging Issues Committee (EIC) has refined and updated our process for selecting and prioritizing research projects and communication activities.
Once fully implemented, our new process will allow anyone to seamlessly submit ideas, communications topics, and research proposals for CRIS consideration. Learn more at http://go.msu.edu/bWP.