Zelda might have found way forward for diagnosing breast cancer
Health & Biotech
Zelda always gets it right. Pic: Nintendo
Medicinal cannabis drug developer Zelda Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD) has identified a receptor complex in the human body that could present a new therapeutic target for diagnosing breast cancer.
Professor Cristina Sanchez, a member of Zelda’s medical advisory board, published results of a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Zelda will collaborate with Prof Sanchez and Madrid’s Complutense University to investigate further – and scoop up any IP the collaboration generates.
The study looked at HER2-positive breast cancer; the HER2 protein being a classic biomarker for aggressive cancer, found in approximately 20 per cent of breast cancer patients.
It found that the cannabinoid receptor CB2 can bind the HER2 receptor to form a novel complex. It showed that expression of CB2-HER2 receptor complexes correlates with poor prognosis in breast cancer patients and that treatment with tetrahydrocannbinol (THC), which binds the CB2 receptor, disrupted CB2/HER2 heteromers and promoted anti-tumour responses.
HER2 proteins are classic signs for aggressive cancer. They’re found in 20 per cent of breast cancer patients.
When we consume cannabis, cannabinoids bind to receptors – part of our endocannabinoid system which helps regulate processes such as fertility, appetite, pain response, mood, memory and mediating the effects of cannabis.
The study found one of those receptors – CB2 – can bind with the HER2 receptor. And there’s a correlation between the presence of that CB2-HER2 receptor and poor prognosis in breast cancer patients.
The study found that treatment with THC can disrupt that CB2/HER2 union and “promote anti-tumour responses”.
Zelda boss Dr Richard Hopkins says the results validate his company’s strategy of working with world-leading researchers.
“This paper makes an important contribution to our understanding of the role of the endocannabinoid system in cancer and has identified a novel therapeutic target for management of HER2+ breast cancer,” he said.
The company has been reaching out to experts across the globe for expertise on its various clinical trial programmes.