Synthetic drug shows promise in brain cancer
A potential drug for the treatment of brain cancer is in offing. A team of researchers led by an Indian-origin investigator are testing the suitability of a synthetic cannabinoid drug - dexanabinol - as a cure for brain cancer. Initial tests have found that it kills cultured cancer cells derived from many tumour types, says a US report.
Additional research in Santosh Kesari's neuro-oncology lab at the University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, shows that the drug's anti-cancer effects in patient-derived brain cancer cell lines. Kesari is the lead study-investigator.
The new medicine could be administered as a weekly intravenous infusion. More recently, researchers at e-Therapeutics, the study sponsor, showed that dexanabinol (ETS2101) destroys cultured cancer cells derived from many tumour types.
"In this Phase I study, we are examining the safety of multiple doses of dexanabinol, extent of penetration into the brain, and suitability for future trials. What we hope to determine is the safe and optimal dose of drug in the brain," a California statement has quoted Kesari as saying.
Dexanabinol is a cannabinoid derivative that causes no psychotropic (altering perception or behaviour) effects. It was tested previously as a neuro-protective in patients with traumatic brain injury. During these trials the drug was found to cross the blood-brain barrier.
The Free Dictionary blood-brain barrier "as a physiological mechanism that alters the permeability of brain capillaries so that certain drugs are prevented from entering brain tissue, while other substances are allowed to enter freely."
Dexanabinol's potential in combating cancer was identified through a fresh approach to drug discovery called network pharmacology, a way to examine the network of proteins underlying a disease process.
Network pharmacology makes it possible for scientists to seek drugs from among existing compounds, or formulate new molecules, that act simultaneously on a number of individual proteins to disrupt the cancer-susceptible network.
--with inputs from IANS
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