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    Recent Research on Cannabinoids

    Clinical trials with cannabinoids

    Thank you for your interest in our research. Unfortunately, we are still trying to initiate clinical trials in order to test cannabidiol in humans for the direct treatment of metastatic cancer. We expect to first focus on breast and brain cancer. We will periodically update this link as we progress toward a clinical trial.

    Additional information
    Cannabinoids are being used in clinical trials in the US and other countries for indications other than the direct treatment of cancer.

    You can find out the details about these trials by visiting new window or new window Use the key word cannabinoids. These sites are also a wonderful resource for finding additional novel trials that focus on treating cancer.

    At this point, there is no clinical evidence demonstrating cannabiniods/cannabis can slow cancer progression but the preclinical data in culture and in mouse models of cancer show the compounds could slow the progression of many types of cancer. There are however multiple clinical studies with cancer patients that show that cannabinoid compounds and cannabis can be used palliatively to reduce nausea and pain, and increase appetite.

    In preclinical models of brain cancer, cannabinoids were most efficacious when given in combination with temozolomide—a common first-line agent used to target brain cancer. Based on the data, it would be expected that cannabinoids would need to be combined with a first-line agent in order to see the most efficacy in a clinical setting. Recent publications using preclinical models suggest this type of enhancement of drug activity occurs in other cancers when cannabinoids are combined with first-line agents.

    We targeted breast cancer cells that expressed high amounts of the protein Id-1. CBD is highly effective at turning off this specific gene that controls breast cancer metastasis. In addition to directly controlling cancer metastasis, turning off Id-1 has also lead to enhanced activity of first-line agents in preclinical models of cancer.


    1. Soroceanu L, Murase R, Limbad C...Desprez PY, McAllister SD. Id-1 is a key transcriptional regulator of glioblastoma aggressiveness and a novel therapeutic target. Cancer Res 2013;73(5):1559-69. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-1943. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

    2. Velasco G, Sanchez C, Guzman M. Towards the use of cannabinoids as antitumour agents. Nature Reviews Cancer 12, 436-444 (June 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrc3247Opens new window.

    3. Carter GT, Flanagan AM, Earleywine M, Abrams DI, Aggarwal SK, Grinspoon L. Cannabis in palliative medicine: improving care and reducing opioid-related morbidity. Am J Hosp Palliat Care 2011;28:297-303Opens new window.

    4. Torres S, Lorente M, Rodriguez-Fornes F, et al. A combined preclinical therapy of cannabinoids and temozolomide against glioma. Mol Cancer Ther 2011;10:90-103Opens new window.

    5. McAllister SD, Christian RT, Horowitz MP, Garcia A, Desprez PY. Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells. Mol Cancer Ther 2007;6:2921-7Opens new window.

    6. McAllister SD, Murase R, Christian RT, et al. Pathways mediating the effects of cannabidiol on the reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2011;129:37-47Opens new window.

    7. Hu H, Han HY, Wang YL, et al. The role of Id-1 in chemosensitivity and epirubicin-induced apoptosis in bladder cancer cells. Oncol Rep 2009;21:1053-9Opens new window.

    8. Ponz-Sarvise M, Nguewa PA, Pajares MJ, et al. Inhibitor of differentiation-1 as a novel prognostic factor in NSCLC patients with adenocarcinoma histology and its potential contribution to therapy resistance. Clin Cancer Res 2011;17:4155-66Opens new window.

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    Recent Research

    Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells

    Sean D. McAllister, Ph.D.

    Pierre Desprez, Ph.D.


    News Interview
    Sean McAllister and Pierre Desprez discussed their recently published findings on cannabidiol inhibiting breast cancer progression in culture on BBC News/Health and in the San Francisco Chronicle .
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