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Trial Investigating the Efficacy of Treating Brain Tumours with Sativex

Posted by Lewis Olden on
Trial Investigating the Efficacy of Treating Brain Tumours with Sativex

The first ever study in the world that intends to discover if Sativex in combination with chemotherapy can treat glioblastoma. 

Several leading cancer charities and the NHS are going to investigate whether a cannabis-based mouth spray can help to treat brain tumours and enable patients to live a longer life. 

The doctors involved in the study will give patients around the UK with a recurrent brain tumour known as a glioblastoma the drug called Sativex in combination with chemotherapy medication, temozolomide in an attempt to kill cancerous cells. It will be the first study of its kind in the entire world. 

Sativex is a mouth spray that contains two chemical extracts derived from the cannabis plant. They are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

Glioblastoma is a ruthless and difficult to treat form of brain tumour that is almost certain to return if it is initially stopped. Despite surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy to prevent the tumour coming back, it often still returns.

Every year in the UK, approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed with the condition which makes it one of the most common forms of brain cancer.

Sativex is already prescribed to patients with multiple sclerosis that have not had any success with traditional treatments. Sativex is prescribed to multiple sclerosis patients to reduce their spasticity. Sativex is currently one of three cannabis medicines that are prescribed on the NHS.

Sativex may kill glioblastoma tumour cells and may be effective when prescribed alongside temozolomide chemotherapy, resulting in an enhancement of the effects of chemotherapy which stops tumours growing and enable the patient to live a longer life. 

The Brain Tumour Charity are funding this trial, intend to recruit 232 patients in early 2022 from a range of hospitals including specialist cancer centres. 66% of the particpants will receive Sativex and temozolomide while the remaining participants will be given a placebo and temozolomide.

This trial follows on from an earlier study which was a phase one trial that just looked at the safety of giving a patient Sativex and temozolomide in combination. That study involved 27 patients.

This new three-year trial which is known as the Aristocrat study will investigate the safety of using Sativex and temozolomide and what impact it has on the patient’s symptoms, overall condition and how long they survive for. It is hoped that Sativex can help to prolong people’s lives.

The Brain Tumour Charity intends to go ahead with the trial but the £450,000 needed for the trial is dependent on the results of an appeal, the charity also lost one quarter of its income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study is being coordinated by Cancer Research UK’s clinical trials unit at the University of Birmingham.

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