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Significant UK trial to see if cannabis-based oral spray can treat brain tumors

cannabis oral spray

Significant UK trial to see if cannabis-based oral spray can treat brain tumors.

 cannabis oral spray

Scientists are "excited" at the possibility that a new trial may mean the first additional NHS treatment in over a decade for glioblastoma patients.

An appeal has been launched by The Brain Tumor Charity to raise £450,000 to trial a cannabis-based drug in treating one of the most aggressive forms of brain tumor. 

Cannabis has been used as a therapeutic for cancer patients, and many people vape cannabis to help alleviate the symptoms of chemotherapy. A few studies have previously looked into using cannabis to slow tumor growth, but this is the first time a clinical trial will focus on glioblastoma patients.

The money will fund a three-year trial that hopes to recruit around 232 patients from 15 hospitals across the UK early next year. It will be led by researchers at the University of Leeds and coordinated by the University of Birmingham Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit. 

The trial aims to measure if life expectancy in people diagnosed with recurrent glioblastoma can be increased by adding Sativex, an oral spray with cannabinoids, to chemotherapy treatment. 

This aggressive form of brain cancer is diagnosed in about 2200 people each year in England alone, and currently, the average life expectancy is less than ten months. 

If this trial proves successful, researchers believe it could represent one of the first additions to NHS treatment for glioblastoma patients in more than a decade.

This trial will test if adding Sativex to chemotherapy extends overall patients' lives, slows the progression of their disease, or improves the quality of life.

Professor of clinical oncology and neuro-oncology at the University of Leeds, Professor Susan Short, said: "It's really exciting that we're now at the point where we can run a definitive, well-designed study that will tell us the answer to whether these agents could help treat the most aggressive form of brain tumor."

"Having shown that a specific cannabinoid combination given by oral spray could be safely added to temozolomide chemotherapy, we're really excited to build on these findings to assess whether this drug could help glioblastoma patients live longer in a major randomized trial."

Interim chief executive at The Brain Tumour Charity, Dr. David Jenkinson, said: "We hope this trial could pave the way for a long-awaited new lifeline that could help offer glioblastoma patients precious extra months to live and make memories with their loved ones.