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- Sean McAllister
We already know that marijuana fights some side effects of cancer and cancer treatment, namely nausea and pain, but now researchers are releasing data proving that marijuana also actually fights against the disease itself. Cannabidiol, a compound found in marijuana, which does not produce a high, seems to turn off the activity of a gene responsible for metastasis in cancer.
Five years ago, two scientists at the California Pacific Medical Center’s Research Institute in San Francisco released data that showed that the cannabidiol compound reduces the aggressiveness of human breast cell cancers in the lab. Last year, the same scientists released more data proving a similar effect of the compound on mice. Now, the researchers are about to release more data that proves this effect even further on other animals. The scientists are now hoping to start the same trials on humans.
Sean McAllister and Pierre Desprez have been studying cannabinoids, the active molecules in marijuana, for ten years now. "The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there's no toxicity. There's really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited," said Sean McAllister.
In the 90’s, Pierre Desprez moved to the Bay Area from France to work on postdoctoral research. Desprez was studying human mammary gland cells, and the role of a particular protein called ID-1. This protein plays a large role in embryonic development, after which it basically turns off and stays off. However when Desprez manipulated cells to see if he could force them to maintain a high level of ID-1, he discovered that the cells began to act like cancer cells. Based on this discovery, he began studying the metastic cancer cells responsible for aggressively spreading the disease through the body. He found that most of them had very high levels of ID-1. This led him to believe that ID-1 must have something to do with causing cancer to spread.
Sean McAllister meanwhile, was learning the role that cannabinoids play with cancer. His research concluded that cannabinoids had anticancer properties as well. By combining their research, the two scientists have now illuminated the possibility that cannabinoids may be helpful in fighting cancer.
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Thursday, 20 September 2012
Photography by Dmitriy Shironosov
Article by Little Buds, on Sep. 21st 2012