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Medical Cannabis Bike Tour: How a group of cyclists funded a clinical trial for cannabis in glioblastoma



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In 2013 the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour began raising funds to support the work of a team of researchers from Complutense University, in Madrid, led by Manuel Guzmán and Guillermo Velasco, which investigated the effects of cannabinoids on cancer cells and their potential as a treatment for glioblastoma. 10 years later, more than 400.000 euros were raised during bicycle tours that covered Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy, the Czech Republic and Austria. Now, the first independent clinical trial on the potential of cannabis in glioblastoma will finally move forward, in Spain, with a preparation made available by Tilray Medical.

Founded by Luc Krol from the Cannabis Seed Gene Bank Paradise seeds, from the Netherlands, and Matej Munih, from Snail Rolling Papers, the Medical Bike Tour Foundation mobilized the European cannabis community, attracting significant industry sponsorship across five events. Proceeds from the kilometers cycled by the group of cyclists are now financing this clinical trial.

The Medical Cannabis Bike Tour toured several countries over almost 10 years to raise funds for a clinical trial

Over the next 18 months, the trial will study the synergistic antitumor effect observed in the preclinical phase of the combination of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in traditional cancer treatments, using concomitant temozolomide and radiotherapy. The supplier of medical cannabis is Tilray Medical, which provided a medicine with EU-GMP pharmaceutical quality in a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio for the trial.

Conducted in eight medical centers in Spain specialized in neuro-oncology, the study recruited 30 patients and is led by researcher Juan Manuel Sepúlveda Sánchez, from GEINO (Spanish Neuro-Oncology Research Group) and has the collaboration of scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid and MFAR, a company focused on academic clinical research.

Cannabis: a new therapeutic route for brain tumors

Researcher Guillermo Velasco, from the Complutense University of Madrid, receives the prize for one of the various stages of the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour by Luc Krol, from Paradise Seeds

Juan Sepúlveda told Cannareporter that “biological evidence has been accumulating for more than 15 years that cannabinoids have anti-tumor activity in the most aggressive brain tumors, glioblastomas. However, no clinical trials have been carried out to prove this hypothesis in patients, perhaps due to the lack of commercial interest in these medicines. With this clinical trial, we can finally study the effect of cannabinoids on tumors that have little active treatment and help give our patients a new option, but also open a therapeutic avenue.” Guillermo Velasco, researcher at Complutense University, also said that this trial represents a crucial milestone in the study of the anti-tumor action of cannabinoids. “It is a long-term project, which we have been developing for over 20 years. Stemming from initial, almost fortuitous observations that Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has the ability to promote the death of glioma cells, our work has led us to understand the mechanism by which cannabinoids exert their anti-cancer actions on cells. brain tumors. Likewise, our preclinical studies in animal models demonstrated a promising synergistic anti-tumor effect by combining Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) with temozolomide, thus contributing to establishing the scientific basis for the development of this study. clinical".

Velasco further added that, “as a basic scientist, being able to translate our findings into something potentially useful for patients is the ultimate aspiration, and so we are excited to see the study begin and extremely grateful to everyone who made it possible.” , including our partners Medical Cannabis Bike tour, GEINO, Tilray and MFAR, as well as former and current researchers in our group and all our national and international collaborators”.

The researcher also said that he hopes that “the results of the trial will contribute to providing new hope and therapeutic option for patients with glioblastoma”.

Luc Krol, from the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour (MCBT) added that “the world was very different when we started the Tour 10 years ago. In the pre-legalization era, the term 'medical cannabis' was still seen by many people as a fantasy. However, we believed it was possible. The fact that MCBT can independently fund a clinical trial in the name of science, not profit, is incredible, thanks to the sponsors and participants who made this happen. We hope this trial reflects the hope illuminated by scientific research for the participants involved.”

Denise Faltischek, director of strategy and international business at Tilray, stated that “this innovative test is more than an opportunity for Tilray: it is a beacon of hope for patients suffering from glioblastoma. Our role in this initiative expands our commitment to medical research, taking us one step closer to unlocking the full therapeutic potential of medical cannabis.”

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3 months ago

With all my respect, yours truly, this article must be completely wrong, since four hundred thousand euros is a tiny amount to leverage research of this nature. Especially because, from molecule to medicine, there are on average 423 investigations, 6587 experiments and 7000.874 hours of incessant work, at a very high cost. According to very recent statistics, in 2.012, the research and development of just one drug represented 1.506 million dollars or the equivalent of 1.172 million euros. It is also worth mentioning that the success rate is only 1,1 percentage of all processes carried out by the Pharmaceutical Industry, that is, in a better elucidation, of more than 3.200 molecules in development, only 35 new medicines were authorized in the remote past. 2.011, in 2012 it represented a total of six times greater than in 1.979 according to reliable research sources carried out by me on that occasion. Dr. Lozano


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