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."
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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