A new method to administer chemotherapy for liver cancer without touching healthy cells.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a method to deliver chemotherapy treatments used to treat liver cancer directly to diseased cells, carefully avoiding healthy cells.
The method involves a combination of cannabidiol or CBD, one of the active cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant, and a low dose of doxorubicin, a chemotherapeutic agent.
“Most cancer treatments are not specific enough, which means that they attack healthy cells along with the malignant cells they are trying to get rid of,” says Professor Alexander Binshtok, head of the research group on cancer. pain plasticity at the Hebrew University School of Medicine and the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences. “This causes many serious side effects associated with chemotherapy. Killing cancer cells while leaving healthy cells is an important step in reducing suffering for patients. "
Binshtok explained to The Jerusalem Post that doxorubicin is "very effective against cancer cells," but also affects heart cells and liver cells, which even leads to heart failure when a patient is treated for liver cancer.
He adds that liver cancer cells produce a specific protein, TRPV2, which when activated creates an otherwise impenetrable pore or channel in the membrane. However, healthy cells do not contain this protein. He said that CBD can be used to open this channel, through which a low dose of the drug can be inserted to kill cancer cells.
The drug does not enter healthy cells that do not contain this protein.
In the future, the precision of this method of administration could allow doctors to prescribe lower doses of chemotherapy and provide relief from some of the more severe side effects of chemotherapy.
The results were published in a recent issue of Frontiers in Pharmacology.
Mr Binshtok said that since the team is using a chemotherapy drug that is already in use, once his team is able to prove the concept in the laboratory on animals, the transition to humans could be relatively short.
“It's too early to make any concrete predictions, but we are hopeful. "