Cannabis 'May Kill
Tumors' - 33% Success
Rate In Rats
By Nigel Hawkes - Science Editor
Cannabis may have uses in cancer treatment. Researchers have used the main active ingredient in the drug to treat brain tumours in rats.
The type of tumour, a glioma, is relatively uncommon but fatal in humans. Dr Ismael Galve-Roperh and his team at Complutense University, Madrid, infused tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) into the rats' brains through tubes.
In a third of the rats, the tumour was eliminated. Another third lived for an extra six weeks instead of dying within two to three. Another third gained no benefit.
The team reports in Nature Medicine that the treatment works by stimulating the cancer cells to commit suicide in a natural process called apoptosis. The effect occurs in cancer cells but not in normal ones and, they say, "could provide the basis for a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of malignant gliomas".


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