Study Finds Cannabinoids “May Have Utility in Cancer Immunotherapy Regimens”

According to a new Frontiers in Immunology study, specific cannabinoids “may have utility in cancer immunotherapy regimens by overcoming immune escape and augmenting cancer immune surveillance in metastatic disease.”

Titled Specific cannabinoids revive adaptive immunity by reversing immune evasion mechanisms in metastatic tumours, the study was conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, the University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Pascal Biosciences (Seattle) and Koç University (Türkiy). The full text of the study can be found by clicking here.

“Emerging cancers are sculpted by neo-Darwinian selection for superior growth and survival but minimal immunogenicity; consequently, metastatic cancers often evolve common genetic and epigenetic signatures to elude immune surveillance”, states the study. “Fascinating ethnographic and experimental findings indicate that cannabinoids inhibit the growth and progression of several categories of cancer; however, the mechanisms underlying these observations remain clouded in uncertainty.”

With that in mind, for this study researchers “screened a library of cannabinoid compounds and found molecular selectivity amongst specific cannabinoids, where related molecules such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, and cannabigerol can reverse the metastatic immune escape phenotype in vitro by inducing MHC-I cell surface expression in a wide variety of metastatic tumours that subsequently sensitizing tumours to T lymphocyte recognition.”

Remarkably, H3K27Ac ChIPseq analysis established that cannabigerol and gamma interferon “induce overlapping epigenetic signatures and key gene pathways in metastatic tumours related to cellular senescence, as well as APM genes involved in revealing metastatic tumours to the adaptive immune response. ”

Overall, the data suggest that specific cannabinoids “may have utility in cancer immunotherapy regimens by overcoming immune escape and augmenting cancer immune surveillance in metastatic disease.”

Finally,  researchers note that “the fundamental discovery of the ability of cannabinoids to alter epigenetic programs may help elucidate many of the pleiotropic medicinal effects of cannabinoids on human physiology.”

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