Cannabis-Like Drug From E-Therapeutics Tested in Cancer

Researchers will begin testing an experimental drug made from chemicals like those in cannabis on cancer patients at two U.K. hospitals, and they expect findings next year on whether the product is safe.

Cancer Research UK and a U.K. National Institute for Health Research agency will carry out the trial of dexanabinol, a product made by e-Therapeutics Plc, in 45 patients with solid tumors at hospitals in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Leeds, England, the Newcastle-based biotechnology company said today in a statement. E-Therapeutics is funding the research, it said.

“The starting point for this trial was to map networks of proteins that appear to have a role in cancer, identify points at which these networks could be disrupted, and then see if there were existing drugs to target these points,” Ruth Plummer, clinical professor of experimental cancer medicine at Newcastle University, who is leading the trial, said in the statement.

A similar early-stage test in brain cancer began in San Diego in June, e-Therapeutics said at the time. Results from both trials are expected next year, the company said.

Dexanabinol is made in a laboratory and is chemically related to compounds found in marijuana, e-Therapeutics said. The drug was originally developed for patients with severe head injuries, Plummer said. It lacks the psychological effects associated with cannabis.

The company is 47 percent owned by Invesco Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Gerlin in London at agerlin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net

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