New research reveals how cannabis compound could slow tumour growth

July 14, 2014, University of East Anglia
cannabis

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have shown how the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis could reduce tumor growth in cancer patients.

Research published today reveals the existence of previously unknown signaling platforms which are responsible for the drug's success in shrinking tumours.

It is hoped that the findings could help develop a synthetic equivalent with anti-cancer properties.

The research was co-led with the Universidad Complutense de Madridin, Spain. The team used samples of human breast cancer cells to induce tumours in mice. They then targeted the tumours with doses of the cannabis compound THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). They found that two cell receptors in particular were responsible for the drug's anti-tumour effects.

Dr Peter McCormick, from UEA's school of Pharmacy, said: "THC, the major active component of marijuana, has anti-cancer properties. This compound is known to act through a specific family of called . However, it was unclear which of these receptors were responsible for the anti-tumour effects of THC.

"We show that these effects are mediated via the joint interaction of CB2 and GPR55 - two members of the cannabinoid receptor family. Our findings help explain some of the well-known but still poorly understood effects of THC at low and high doses on tumour growth.

"There has been a great deal of interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms behind how marijuana, and specifically THC, influence cancer pathology.

"There has also been a drive in the pharmaceutical industry to create synthetic equivalents that might have anti-cancer properties.

"By identifying the involved we have provided an important step towards the future development of therapeutics that can take advantage of the interactions we have discovered to reduce tumour growth."

Dr McCormick added that cancer sufferers should not be tempted to self-medicate.

"Our research uses an isolated chemical compound and using the correct concentration is vital. Cancer patients should not use cannabis to self-medicate, but I hope that our research will lead to a safe synthetic equivalent being available in the future."

'Targeting CB2 –GPR55 receptor heteromers modulates cell signalling' is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Explore further: Study shows non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs

More information: "Targeting CB2-GPR55 Receptor Heteromers Modulates Cancer Cell Signaling." Moreno E, et al. J Biol Chem. 2014 Jun 18. pii: jbc.M114.561761.

Related Stories

Study shows non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs

October 14, 2013
New research has shown that the non-hallucinogenic components of cannabis could act as effective anti-cancer agents.

Synthetic derivatives of THC may weaken HIV-1 infection to enhance antiviral therapies

April 30, 2013
A new use for compounds related in composition to the active ingredient in marijuana may be on the horizon: a new research report published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows that compounds that stimulate the cannabinoid ...

Potential cholesterol lowering drug has breast cancer fighting capabilities

June 17, 2014
Researchers at the University of Missouri have proven that a compound initially developed as a cholesterol-fighting molecule not only halts the progression of breast cancer, but also can kill the cancerous cells.

Molecule discovered that protects the brain from cannabis intoxication

January 2, 2014
Two INSERM research teams led by Pier Vincenzo Piazza and Giovanni Marsicano (INSERM Unit 862 "Neurocentre Magendie" in Bordeaux) recently discovered that pregnenolone, a molecule produced by the brain, acts as a natural ...

New drug active against most aggressive type of lung cancer cells

July 10, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Manchester scientists have shown that a new drug could prove useful in treating small cell lung cancer - the most aggressive form of lung cancer.

Some truth to the 'potent pot myth'

March 18, 2014
New research from The Netherlands shows that people who smoke high-potency cannabis end up getting higher doses of the active ingredient (THC). Although they reduce the amount they puff and inhale to compensate for the higher ...

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.