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Marijuana Chemical May Fight Brain Cancer - mastermg - 05-17-2009

Marijuana Chemical May Fight Brain Cancer
Active Component In Marijuana Targets Aggressive Brain Cancer Cells, Study Says
By Kelli Miller Stacy
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Louise Chang, MDApril 1, 2009 -- The active chemical in marijuana promotes the death of brain cancer cells by essentially helping them feed upon themselves, researchers in Spain report.

Guillermo Velasco and colleagues at Complutense University in Spain have found that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, causes brain cancer cells to undergo a process called autophagy. Autophagy is the breakdown of a cell that occurs when the cell essentially self-digests.

The team discovered that cannabinoids such as THC had anticancer effects in mice with human brain cancer cells and people with brain tumors. When mice with the human brain cancer cells received the THC, the tumor growth shrank.

Two patients enrolled in a clinical trial received THC directly to the brain as an experimental treatment for recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain tumor. Biopsies taken before and after treatment helped track their progress. After receiving the THC, there was evidence of increased autophagy activity.

The findings appear in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The patients did not have any toxic effects from the treatment. Previous studies of THC for the treatment of cancer have also found the therapy to be well tolerated, according to background information in journal article.

Study authors say their findings could lead to new strategies for preventing tumor growth.

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer/n...ht-brain-cancer


Marijuana Chemical May Fight Brain Cancer - nakiel - 05-26-2009

Cannabinoid action induces autophagy-mediated cell death through stimulation of ER stress in human glioma cells

Autophagy can promote cell survival or cell death, but the molecular basis underlying its dual role in cancer remains obscure. Here we demonstrate that Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component of marijuana, induces human glioma cell death through stimulation of autophagy. Our data indicate that THC induced ceramide accumulation and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2alpha (eIF2alpha) phosphorylation and thereby activated an ER stress response that promoted autophagy via tribbles homolog 3-dependent (TRB3-dependent) inhibition of the Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) axis. We also showed that autophagy is upstream of apoptosis in cannabinoid-induced human and mouse cancer cell death and that activation of this pathway was necessary for the antitumor action of cannabinoids in vivo. These findings describe a mechanism by which THC can promote the autophagic death of human and mouse cancer cells and provide evidence that cannabinoid administration may be an effective therapeutic strategy for targeting human cancers.

The Journal of clinical investigation. 01/05/200905/2009;
ISSN: 1558-8238
DOI: 10.1172/JCI37948


Read the complete publication at: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/37948