MGC Pharma achieves success in brain cancer treatment trial
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MGC) is moving towards clinical trials for a cannabinoid treatment for glioblastoma, a type of cancer, following success in pre-clinical trials.
The new research will focus on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) in the treatment of glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer that originates in the brain or spinal cord.
“The results we have seen in our pre-clinical work on glioblastoma have continued to be very encouraging,” said Roby Zomer, co-founder and managing director of MGC Pharma.
The research results will enable the company to streamline its development and registration of drug development and to progress to fuller clinical trials for its glioblastoma treatments.
The pre-clinical research was carried out between MGC Pharma and the National Institute of Biology and the Neurosurgery Department at the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana in Slovenia.
Results from 18 tumour samples from patients demonstrated the efficacy of MGC Pharma’s proprietary CBD and CBG formulation in different treatment ratios.
The CBD and CBG formulations were both found to be effective in producing a cytotoxic effect on glioblastoma cell visibility and the death of cancer cells.
Also, CBD was shown to be an effective inhibitor of glioblastoma cell tumour viability. CBG is efficient in setting off a cascade of biological processes leading to the death or apoptosis of glioblastoma cells.
This finding has opened up new avenues of research into therapies for this type of tumour.
For example, CBG could present a new glioblastoma therapy that could replace tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as an add-on or adjuvant treatment strategy.
THC can hamper the medical applications of cannabinoid treatments.
Glioblastoma is the most common primary brain cancer in adults, accounting for approximately 75 per cent of malignant brain tumours, and is one of the most deadly.
Survival rates for the cancer after diagnosis range from 38 per cent in the first year, declining to 16 per cent in the second year, and down to 9 per cent by year three.
A combination of CBD and CBG was more advantageous as a treatment compared with a single treatment, as together they double the toxicity effect on glioblastoma cells, said the company.
The cannabinoid formulations used in the research program are proprietary to MGC Pharma.
Recent investigations revealed a formulation of CBD and CBG treatment effectively triggers a cytotoxic effect on glioblastoma cells viability.
The study also supports the ‘silver blanket’ clinical strategy of compounded products being used to treat illness, as developed by Dr Jonathan Grunfeld.
The idea of the silver blanket approach is to simultaneously obstruct multiple processes driving a disease in an attempt to smother its progression, rather than precisely disrupt specific processes considered to be crucial to its further development, Grunfeld said.
One novel finding in the research is that CBG, a non-psycho-active cannabinoid, in low doses can inhibit the invasion of glioblastoma cells, a root cause of disease progression.
MGC Pharma is ready to move to pre-clinical in-vivo studies into its treatments, starting off with using the zebra fish model – representing an in-vivo brain environment — and then moving on to rodent studies.
“We are constantly learning more about the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabinoids in the treatment of a number of medical conditions and are pleased to report the company will now begin preparations for the next stage of clinical trial work on glioblastoma,” said Zomer.
A phase two clinical trial in humans is expected to occur in 2021.
MGC Pharma has also been undertaking clinical research into cannabinoid treatments for COVID-19, with significant progress to date.