Cannabis compound may stop breast cancer spreading

March 15, 2016

The scientists from the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI) believe their discovery may provide a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy and achieve the same results minus the painful and unpleasant side effects.

The research team say that cannabidiol or CBD, unlike cannabis, does not have any psychoactive properties so its use would not violate laws, but they are not suggesting patients smoke marijuana.

The scientists say it is highly unlikely that effective concentrations of CBD could be reached by smoking cannabis.

According to lead researcher Dr. Sean McAllister, CBD works by blocking the activity of a gene called Id-1 which is believed to be responsible for a process called metastasis, which is the aggressive spread of cancer cells away from the original tumour site.

Earlier research has also shown CBD can block aggressive human brain cancers and this latest study has found that CBD appears to have a similar effect on breast cancer cells.

Dr. McAllister says there are currently a limited range of options for treating aggressive forms of cancer and while treatments, such as chemotherapy, can be effective they can also be extremely toxic and tough for patients.

McAllister says CBD offers the hope of a non-toxic therapy that could achieve the same results without any of the painful side effects but experts say the research is at a very early stage.

Cancer UK says the laboratory findings will need to be followed up with clinical trials in humans in order to establish if the compound is safe, and whether the beneficial effects can be replicated.

Cancer experts say there already exist several cancer drugs which are based on plant chemicals such as vincristine, derived from a flower called Madagascar Periwinkle which is used to treat breast and lung cancer.

They say any drug that has fewer side-effects than chemotherapy will be of great interest.

The study is published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Ethnic disparities in colorectal cancer death rates have an underlying genetic basis, according to an analysis of 26 studies, involving over 25,000 participants, by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh. Differences in lymph node assessment among breast cancer patients who undergo surgery. The practice, which helps to determine whether the cancer has spread and thus informs treatment decisions, is optional, yet certain groups of women are less likely to undergo the procedure, according to researchers at the American Cancer Society. Assessing the cancer care needs of recent Hispanic immigrants in Nashville, Tennessee, has become a priority for a coalition of local universities and community groups. Like many communities across America, Nashville has faced a massive wave of immigrants in the last decade, yet not much is known about the healthcare needs of this largely uninsured population, despite their expressed interest in receiving cancer information and participating in clinical trials, researchers at Tennessee State University report. Aggressive prostate cancer in African-American men might be exacerbated by the effects of obesity and diabetes on PSA levels, a common prostate cancer screening technique, report researchers from Vanderbilt University. Cultural views among Asian ethnic groups might influence treatment recommendations for Asian breast cancer patients, according to researchers from the Northern California Cancer Center.

Capping off AACR's scientific meeting is a free, public education program entitled ???Cancer Answers: A Public Forum on Cancer Health Disparities.??? Scientists and cancer advocates will help educate the Atlanta community on cancer health disparities through an interactive dialogue, sharing their research and answering questions about race and cancer, clinical trials, genetics, personalized medicine, survivorship and cancer education. Information on resources for cancer patients and their families, as well as general information on cancer and health disparities will also be available from local advocacy and community education groups.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is recognized as the lead supporter of ???The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved??? with additional support from Eli Lilly and Amgen.