Tilray supports first human study evaluating cannabis to tackle side-effect caused by breast cancer treatment

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A new study is testing for the first time the ability of cannabis to eliminate a major side-effect of breast cancer treatment.

The Nanaimo-based Tilray, Inc., said it has successfully imported medical cannabis into the U.S. for use in a clinical trial aimed at providing relief to people suffering from taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy.

TIPN, a condition that affects more than 67 per cent of women who go undergo chemotherapy, is a progressive condition that can cause pain and numbness in the hands and feet. It often forces doctors to stop the breast cancer treatment early, leading to less effective results. Although there is currently no effective treatment for the condition, use of cannabis has shown promise in tests on mice.

“We’re excited to support this groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind trial seeking to find a new treatment option for TIPN,” Philippe Lucas, the company’s vice-president of global patient research and access, said in a press release. “Tilray is committed to advancing cannabis research through its support of clinical trials around the world as we continue to enhance our understanding of the potential benefits of medical cannabis.”

The clinical trial, which will take place at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, will give half of its patients a drug containing a combination of THC and CBD twice daily for eight weeks. The other half will receive a placebo. “There is a critical need for randomized controlled clinical studies to test the efficacy of cannabis in patients,” said Margaret Haney, professor of neurobiology and one of the leads on the trial.

“There is exciting preclinical evidence showing that THC and CBD significantly reduce TIPN, and our study will be the first to test this in a well powered clinical trial.”

The move is the latest by Tilray in support of testing medical cannabis on a wide-range of conditions, including epilepsy, PTSD and alcohol use disorder. The study is currently recruiting participants and will get underway soon.

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