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Marijuana Compounds Could Beat Back Brain Cancer
Date:1/11/2010

do, this tumor has a larger border than you ever think," he said. "We know there are microscopic satellites all throughout one side of the brain and pretty soon in the other side of the brain. The only thing that will fix this disease is something that provides a more blanket approach."

Instead of targeting the tumors itself, he explained, treatments need to do something like disrupt the pathways that cancer cells use to communicate.

In the big picture, "you're seeing a lot more thinking outside the box about trying to treat glioblastoma," he said. "I think in the next 10 to 15 years we're going to start seeing progress forward."

For now, he said, there's no evidence that marijuana is good or bad for glioblastoma tumors.

Back in the laboratory, McAllister said the next step is to test the combination treatment on laboratory animals and then on people. The treatment may be given to people directly through the brain, which could be expensive. But the compounds themselves may not be expensive, McAllister said.

As for the idea of getting the same effect through a couple of marijuana joints, he had this to say: "It's unlikely that you could reach effective concentrations by smoking the plant."

More information

Massachusetts General Hospital has more on glioblastomas.



SOURCES: Sean McAllister, Ph.D., associate scientist, California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, San Francisco; Paul Graham Fisher, M.D., chief, division of child neurology, Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto, Calif.; January 2010, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics


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