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Pot's Active Ingredient Halts Lung Cancer Growth, Study Says

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Los Angeles, CA:  The administration of THC significantly reduces lung tumor size and lesions, according to preclinical data presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Los Angeles. 
           
Investigators at Harvard University's Division of Experimental Medicine reported that THC inhibited the growth and spread of cells in vitro from two different lung cancer cell lines and from patient lung tumors. They also reported that THC administration reduced the growth of lung tumors in mice by more than 50 percent compared to untreated controls over a three-week period.
           
Researchers noted that THC appeared to block a specific cancer-causing protein in a manner similar to the pharmaceutical anti-cancer drugs Erbitux (Cetuximab) and Vectibix (Panitumumab).
           
Results of a large-scale, case-controlled population study published last year found that smoking cannabis, even long-term, is not positively associated with increased incidence of lung-cancer. Investigators in that study noted that one subset of moderate lifetime users had an inverse association between cannabis use and lung cancer, leading them to speculate that cannabinoids may possess certain protective properties against the development of lung cancer in humans.
           
Separate preclinical studies indicate that compounds in marijuana inhibit cancer cell growth in animals and in culture on a wide range of tumoral cell lines ­-- including human breast carcinoma cells, human prostate carcimona cells, and human colectoral carcinoma cells, among others.  Most recently, investigators at Madrid's Complutense University, School of Biology, reported in the British Journal of Cancer that THC administration decreases recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (brain) tumor growth in patients diagnosed with the disease.
           
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst at paul@norml.org, or download the NORML white paper, "Cannabinoids as Cancer Hope," available online at:
http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6814.