As cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, killing nearly 10 million people in 2020, researchers around the world are constantly working to find a treatment for the devasting symptoms, if not a cure.
Every bit of progress is nearly as important as a big discovery, offering hope to those with a diagnosis and to their families. Hope, when it comes to cancer, is always welcome though scarce. But without it, the battle is already lost.
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University are providing some hope to those suffering from brain tumors through its new study that revealed that inhaled CBD shrinks the size of glioblastoma tumors in an animal model. According to the research, glioblastoma is the most common, fast-growing and aggressive brain tumor. Composed of diverse cell types, the prognosis is always poor.
CBD Affects Brain Tumor’s Microenvironment
The study suggested that inhaled CBD reduces the size of glioblastoma in an animal model through the reduction of the essential support of its microenvironment. They chose the inhaled approach to make sure the compound found in the cannabis plant reached the brain.
"We saw a significant reduction in the size of the tumor and its microenvironment was different," said Dr. Babak Baban, immunologist and associate dean for research at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, after only seven days of treatment, Jag Wire reported.
This is the first study to use CBD in an animal model of glioblastoma, as reported in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. In it, the researchers used modified glioblastoma cells from humans forming an orthotopic glioblastoma model to provide the most realistic model possible for this disease.
In eight days the aggressive brain tumor was formed in the brain of the mice, and the following day they started treating them with CBD via inhalation or placebo. The researchers then discovered that CBD altered the tumor’s ecosystem, or supportive tumor microenvironment, and restored levels of inflammation that attack glioblastoma.
These results indicate a potential for a safe and effective new treatment for this type of cancer.
“It is about immune balance," said Baban, who is the corresponding author of the study.
He explained that the human immune system is regularly fighting cancerous or precancerous cells, but when a tumor is completely established, it takes charge. This means that the tumor creates a state of more chronic inflammation that ends up protecting it from the immune system.
"It is a puzzle and that is why we need good immune regulators," Baban continued. "CBD is a very smart regulator," making adjustments in its environment – reducing apelin in glioblastoma and increasing it in case of lung damage by COVID. Apelin is a peptide that acts as a mediator of cardiovascular control, including blood pressure and blood flow.
According to Dr. Martin Rutkowski, MCG neurosurgeon and study coauthor, previous important progress in glioblastoma treatment happened more than 15 years ago through the addition of the chemotherapy drug temozolomide to radiation, extending survival for around one-and-a-half months.
“It's probably one of the most aggressive cancers...period,” Rutkowski said. “We are in desperate need of research and more treatments. What we have right now is not working very well.”
Baban expressed optimism at the success of the research. "Right now we are excited that the tumor shrinks."
The studies will continue, with the next steps including a look at how long positive changes last and analyzing the effect on cancer stem cells. Researchers also plan to examine CBD’s impact on the high recurrence rates of glioblastoma.
General Cancer Statistics
In 2020, the most common types of cancer were:
• Breast – 2.26 million cases;
• Lung – 2.21 million cases;
• Colon and rectum - 1.93 million cases;
• Prostate – 1.41 million cases;
• Skin (non-melanoma) – 1.20 million cases;
• Stomach – 1.09 million cases.
Those cancers that caused the most deaths in 2020 were (from most to least) – lung, colon and rectum, liver stomach and breast.
Medical Cannabis Brings Hope To Breast Cancer Patients
CBD in glioblastoma research comes on the heels of another cannabis and cancer study with promising results. Hadassah Medical Center physicians recently reported a sixfold improvement in killing breast cancer cells when using specific Cannabotech’s medical cannabis products in combination with standard oncology treatments and drug protocols – chemotherapy, biological and hormonal, over the existing treatment.
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