Findings from a new study examining human and canine brain cancer cells suggest that cannabidiol could be a useful therapy for a difficult-to-treat brain cancer. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive chemical compound derived from marijuana.
Mr. Gross was scheduled to present this research at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics annual meeting in San Diego this month. Though the meeting, to be held in conjunction with the 2020 Experimental Biology conference, was canceled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the research team’s abstract was published in this month’s issue of The FASEB Journal.
The study looked at glioblastoma, an often-deadly form of brain cancer that grows and spreads very quickly. Even with major advancements in treatment, survival rates for this cancer have not improved significantly.
“Further research and treatment options are urgently needed for patients afflicted by brain cancer,” said Chase Gross, a student in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Master of Science program at Colorado State University. “Our work shows that CBD has the potential to provide an effective, synergistic glioblastoma therapy option and that it should continue to be vigorously studied.”
Mr. Gross and colleagues examined human and canine glioblastoma cells because the cancer shows striking similarities between the two species. They tested the effects of CBD isolate, which contains 100 percent CBD, and CBD extract, which contains small amounts of other natural occurring compounds such as cannabigerol and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
"This new trial is so important as it will give people hope that there could be life beyond a glioblastoma diagnosis and that there are other treatments being trialled to support them to live their lives.”
Pictured: Stephen Lee with his wife
“With so few treatments available and average survival still so heartbreakingly short, thousands affected by a glioblastoma in the UK each year are in urgent need of new options and new hope.
‘Life beyond a glioblastoma diagnosis’
The ARISTOCRAT trial plans to recruit 232 participants across a minimum of 15 hospitals: two thirds of the participants will be given temozolomide plus Sativex, while one third will be given temozolomide plus placebo.
Participants will be asked to administer up to 12 sprays per day (or to the maximum dose they can tolerate if fewer than 12) of Sativex or placebo oral sprays.
The drug, already used in treating multiple sclerosis, was found to be tolerable in combination with chemotherapy, with the potential to extend survival, in a phase I trial in glioblastomas earlier this year.
The trial will measure whether adding Sativex to chemotherapy extends the overall length of patients’ lives (overall survival), delays the progression of their disease (progression-free survival) or improves quality of life.