Pubdate: Tue, 29 Feb 2000
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 2000 Times Newspapers Ltd
Contact:  PO Box 496, London E1 9XN, United Kingdom
Fax: +44-(0)171-782 5046
Author: Nigel Hawkes, Science Editor


CANNABIS may have uses in cancer treatment. Researchers have used the main
active ingredient in the drug to treat brain tumours in rats.

The type of tumour, a glioma, is relatively uncommon but fatal in humans. Dr
Ismael Galve-Roperh and his team at Complutense University, Madrid, infused
tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) into the rats' brains through tubes.

In a third of the rats, the tumour was eliminated. Another third lived for
an extra six weeks instead of dying within two to three. Another third
gained no benefit.

The team reports in Nature Medicine that the treatment works by stimulating
the cancer cells to commit suicide in a natural process called apoptosis.
The effect occurs in cancer cells but not in normal ones and, they say,
"could provide the basis for a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of
malignant gliomas".
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