Cannabis in cancer trials

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A CANNABIS-TYPE drug is to be tested on North East cancer patients, it has been revealed.

The early-stage trial will investigate the potential of dexanabinol for treating solid tumours.

A similar study looking at brain cancer is under way in the U.S.

Dexanabinol is from a family of compounds called cannabinoids and is related to the active chemicals which are in cannabis.

It is made in the laboratory and does not cause any of the psychological effects usually associated with the drug.

Professor Ruth Plummer, who is leading the research at Newcastle University, said: “The starting point for this trial was to map networks of proteins that appear to have a role in cancer, identify points at which these networks could be disrupted, and then see if there were existing drugs to target these points.

“It was this novel approach –known as network pharmacology – that first highlighted the potential cancer-fighting properties of dexanabino, which was originally developed to treat patients with severe head injuries.”

About 45 patients are to take part in the trial.