Posts Tagged science
Sep 6, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
Mounting evidence shows ‘cannabinoids’ in marijuana slow cancer growth, inhibit formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor, and help manage pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects.
Cristina Sanchez, a young biologist at Complutense University in Madrid, was studying cell metabolism when she noticed something peculiar. She had been screening brain cancer cells because they grow faster than normal cell lines and thus are useful for research purposes. But the cancer cells died each time they were exposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.
Instead of gaining insight into how cells function, Sanchez had stumbled upon the anti-cancer properties of THC. In 1998, she reported in a European biochemistry journal that THC “induces apoptosis [cell death] in C6 glioma cells,” an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Subsequent peer-reviewed studies in several countries would show that THC and other marijuana-derived compounds, known as “cannabinoids,” are effective not only for cancer-symptom management (nausea, pain, loss of appetite, fatigue), they also confer a direct antitumoral effect.
A team of Spanish scientists led by Manuel Guzman conducted the first clinical trial assessing the antitumoral action of THC on human beings. Guzman administered pure THC via a catheter into the tumors of nine hospitalized patients with glioblastoma, who had failed to respond to standard brain-cancer therapies. The results were published in 2006 in the British Journal of Pharmacology: THC treatment was associated with significantly reduced tumor cell proliferation in every test subject.
Around the same time, Harvard University scientists ++reported++[http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v95/n2/abs/6603236a.html] that THC slows tumor growth in common lung cancer and “significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.” What’s more, like a heat-seeking missile, THC selectively targets and destroys tumor cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed. Conventional chemotherapy drugs, by contrast, are highly toxic; they indiscriminately damage the brain and body.
There is mounting evidence, according to a report in Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, that cannabinoids “represent a new class of anticancer drugs that retard cancer growth, inhibit angiogenesis [the formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor] and the metastatic spreading of cancer cells.”
Dr. Sean McAllister, a scientist at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, has been studying cannabinoid compounds for 10 years in a quest to develop new therapeutic interventions for various cancers. Backed by grants from the National Institute of Health (and with a license from the DEA), McAllisterdiscovered that cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive component of the marijuana plant, is a potent inhibitor of breast cancer cell proliferation, metastasis, and tumor growth.
In 2007, McAllister published a detailed account of how cannabidiol kills breast cancer cells and destroys malignant tumors by switching off expression of the ID-1 gene, a protein that appears to play a major role as a cancer cell conductor.
The ID-1 gene is active during human embryonic development, after which it turns off and stays off. But in breast cancer and several other types of metastatic cancer, the ID-1 gene becomes active again, causing malignant cells to invade and metastasize. “Dozens of aggressive cancers express this gene,” explains McAllister. He postulates that CBD, by virtue of its ability to silence ID-1 expression, could be a breakthrough anti-cancer medication.
“Cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy,” says McAllister, who is seeking support to conduct clinical trials with the marijuanacompound on breast cancer patients.
McAllister’s lab also is analyzing how CBD works in combination with first-line chemotherapy agents. His research shows that cannabidiol, a potent antitumoral compound in its own right, acts synergistically with various anti-cancer pharmaceuticals, enhancing their impact while cutting the toxic dosage necessary for maximum effect.
“Cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy.
Investigators at St. George’s University in London observed a similar pattern with THC, which magnified the effectiveness of conventional antileukemia therapies in preclinical studies. THC and cannabidiol both induce apoptosis in leukemic cell lines.
At the annual summer conference of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, held this year in Freiburg, Germany, 300 scientists from around the world discussed their latest findings, which are pointing the way toward novel treatment strategies for cancer and other degenerative diseases. Italian investigators described CBD as “the most efficacious inducer of apoptosis” in prostate cancer. Ditto for cannabidiol and colon cancer, according to British researchers at Lancaster University.
Within the medical science community, the discovery that cannabinoids have anti-tumoral properties is increasingly recognized as a seminal advancement in cancer therapeutics.
Martin A. Lee is the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific (Scribner, August 2012). He is the cofounder of the media watch group FAIR, director of Project CBD, and the author of Acid Dreams and The Beast Reawakens. For more information and regular updates, follow Smoke Signals—the book on Facebook.
Published July 3, 2012
Just hours from now, physicists could announce they’re 99.9936 percent sure the Higgs boson exists, according to experts on the hunt for the so-called God particle.
The combined findings of two teams at the proton-smashing Large Hadron Collider (LHC) should help explain why objects in our universe have mass—and in so doing, why galaxies, planets, and even humans have any right to exist.
“There are very few people even in ATLAS and CMS who know what’s going to be presented on Wednesday. It’s kept that secret,” said particle physicist David Evans, leader of the U.K. team that works on the LHC’s ALICE experiment.
The rumor mill, though, got a late-breaking boost Tuesday, when, according to Science News, an official CERN video clip surfaced briefly, publicly, and—presumably—prematurely.
In the video CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela reportedly says, “We’ve observed a new particle … we have quite strong evidence that there’s something there” in the expected mass range for the Higgs boson. “This is the most massive such particle that exists, if we confirm all of this—which I think we will.”
On Higgs Hunt, It’s “Easy to Fool Yourself”
Results in particle physics are ranked on a scale from zero to five “sigma.” Last December the ATLAS and CMS teams said their data showed a two-sigma likelihood that the Higgs particle has a mass of about 125 gigaelectron volts (GeV)—about 125 times the mass of a proton, a positively charged particle in an atom’s nucleus.
“For the first time there was a case where we expected to [rule out] the Higgs, and we weren’t able to do so,” said Tim Barklow, an experimental physicist with the ATLAS Experiment who’s based at Stanford University’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
A two-sigma finding translates to about a 95 percent chance that results are not due to a statistical fluke.
While that might seem impressive, it falls short of the stringent five-sigma level that high-energy physicists traditionally require for an official discovery. Five sigma means there’s a less than one in a million probability that a finding is due to chance.
“We make these rules and impose them on ourselves because, when you are exploring on the frontier, it is easy to fool yourself,” said Michael Peskin, a theoretical physicist also at SLAC.
God Particle Discovery a Safe Bet?
Based on CERN’s June announcement that the teams now have more than double the data they had last year, ALICE’s Evans thinks it’s likely the groups could announce they’ve reached a four-sigma level of certainty—that is, they are 99.9936 percent confident—that the Higgs particle exists in the 125 GeV mass range.
While that result still won’t be enough to count as an official discovery, “it would be strong enough that most physicists would be quite comfortable betting a month’s salary that an announcement of the discovery of the Higgs will come by the end of the year,” said Evans, who’s based at the U.K.’s University of Birmingham.
Alternatively, the two groups would also have enough data to determine if last December’s results were a statistical fluke.
A negative result would be equally exciting for physicists, Evans added, because it would hint at completely new physics, forcing a rethink of the laws of the universe.
Higgs Holds It All Together?
The Higgs boson is one of the final puzzle pieces required for a complete understanding of the standard model of physics—the so-far successful theory that explains how fundamental particles interact with the elementary forces of nature.
The so-called God particle was proposed in the 1960s by physicist Peter Higgs to explain why some particles, such as quarks—building blocks of protons, among other things—and electrons have mass while others, such as the light-carrying photon particle, do not.
Higgs’s idea was that the universe is bathed in an invisible field similar to a magnetic field. Every particle feels this field—now known as the Higgs field—but to varying degrees.
If a particle can move through this field with little or no interaction, there will be no drag, and that particle will have little or no mass. Alternatively, if a particle interacts significantly with the Higgs field, it will have a higher mass.
The idea of the Higgs field requires the acceptance of a related particle: the Higgs boson.
According to the standard model, if the Higgs field didn’t exist, the universe would be a very different place, said SLAC’s Peskin, who isn’t involved in the LHC experiments.
“It would be very difficult to form atoms,” Peskin said. “So our orderly world, where matter is made of atoms, and electrons form chemical bonds—we wouldn’t have that if we did not have the Higgs field.”
In other words: no galaxies, no stars, no planets, no life on Earth.
“Nature Is Really Nasty” to God Particle Seekers
Buried beneath the French-Swiss border, the Large Hadron Collider is essentially a 7-mile-long (27-kilometer-long) oval tunnel. Inside, counter-rotating beams of protons are boosted to nearly the speed of light using an electric field before being steered into collisions.
Exotic fundamental particles—some of which likely haven’t existed since the early moments after the big bang—are created in the high-energy crashes. But the odd particles hang around for only fractions of a second before decaying into other particles.
Theory predicts that the Higgs boson’s existence is too fleeting to be recorded by LHC instruments, but physicists think they can confirm its creation if they can spot the particles it decays into.
If, based on these observations, the Higgs does turn out to have a mass of around 125 GeV, as previous evidence suggested, the result would help explain why the God particle has avoided detection for so long.
This mass is just high enough to be out of reach of earlier, lower-energy particle accelerators, such as the LHC’s predecessor, the Large Electron-Positron Collider, which could probe to only about 115 GeV.
At the same time 125 GeV is not so massive that it produces decay products so unusual that their detection would be clear proof of the Higgs’s existence.
In reality the Higgs appears to transform into relatively commonplace decay products such as quarks, which are produced by the millions at the LHC.
“It just so happens that nature is really nasty to us, and the range that we’ve narrowed [the Higgs] down to is the range that makes it most difficult to find,” ALICE’s Evans said.
To detect the Higgs’s signal amid this high background noise, scientists must calculate very precisely what the distribution of a particular decay particle for a collision will be at a given energy, and how many extras of that particle they’d expect to see if a Higgs boson has been created.
Additionally, to ensure that a signal is not a statistical fluke, LHC physicists require lots of collisions—the atom smasher can produce about 800 million per second—to generate enough Higgs-creating collisions.
“You need the total number of collisions to be large so you can see this rare event happening,” explained ATLAS physicist Michael Tuts of Columbia University.
Going for the Gold
While the search for the Higgs was a primary motivation for the construction of the LHC, activity at the world’s largest atom smasher won’t stop if the Higgs boson is confirmed.
For one thing, lingering questions will require years of follow-up work, such as what the God particle’s “decay channels” are—that is, what particles the Higgs transforms into as it sheds energy.
The answer to that question will allow physicists to determine whether the particle they have discovered is the one predicted from theory or something more exotic, Tuts added.
Something the public often forgets, too, is that ATLAS and CMS make up only two of the LHC’s four major experiments, Evans said. The other two—LHCb and Evan’s own ALICE— are investigating other physics arcana, such as why the universe contains so little antimatter. (See “Antimatter Atoms Trapped for First Time—’A Big Deal.’”)
“If you want to compare it to the Olympics, finding the Higgs would be like winning just one gold medal,” Evans said.
“I’m sure most countries would like to win more than one gold medal. And I think CERN is going to deliver a lot more gold medals over the years.”
Cannabis Science Makes Medical Moves at The 7th Patients Out of Time medical cannabis conference in Tucson at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
press release April 30, 2012, 8:44 a.m. EDT
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Apr 30, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Cannabis Science, Inc. a pioneering U.S. biotech company developing pharmaceutical cannabis (marijuana) products, was honored to be the Sponsor and an Exhibitor at the 7th national Patients Out of Time, medical cannabis conference in Tucson, Arizona. The conference was attended by patients, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, professors, supporters, and entrepreneurs of the medical cannabis industry. Our own Dr. Melamede presented patient’s results that we have documented at http://www.cannabisscience.com .
The University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine (UCSF) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Patients Out of Time is the only accredited CME program to educate medical professionals about cannabis as a medicine. There were over 25 world-renowned doctors and scientists sharing and presenting the latest research advances as the complexity of the endo-cannabinoid system continues to unfold. Please see the previous news release from April 17, 2012 at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/dr-robert-melamede-scheduled-speak-182800051.html
Speakers at the conference focused on the science and medicine of cannabinoids. Cannabis Science was overwhelmed, with great feedback by various representatives in the medical community. Prominent speakers included Dr. Robert Melamede, CEO and president of Cannabis Science; Dr. William Courtney of Cannabis Science’s scientific advisory board, and Dr. Andrew Weil, best selling author, speaker, and Integrative Medicine thought-leader. Talks covered specific ailments such as PTSD, cancer, and even drug addiction; research on cannabinoid science and medical applications, and law. Dr. Robert Melamede shared pictures show on our website. Cannabis Science helps cancer patients make informed choices regarding treatments. He also spoke as to the holistic nature by which the endocannabinoid system regulated homeostasis in all vertebrates from conception till death and therefore, why cannabis-based medicines are different from all others in their ability to help with so many illnesses.
Cannabis Science demonstrated a pre-release our multi-tiered, digital educational platform to be announced in more detail later this week. Our novel platform will help to meet the ever-expanding interest in cannabis that is coming from the medical communities as the almost miraculous medical benefits of cannabis emerge from the states that support medical marijuana. Our new educational platform (see below) will bring in revenues as we fill the emerging educational need of the medical community. Realistic cannabis education programs are not currently available in the professional schools that need them to end the disconnect between medical cannabis patients an their physicians.
At the conference the Cannabis Science booth collected data from attendees interested in Cannabis Science Stock and there was a lot of interest in our new branding platform.. Attendees were given PR Packets with CBIS information on cancer, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, aging, and heart disease. CBIS had attendees fill out a questionnaire to enter into a drawing for an iPad 3, a symbolic prize since Cannabis Science will launce our new digital education platform for Physicians, on the Apple iPad platform. Our congratulations to our conference iPad winner.
Andrew Pitsicalis, the Branding and Licensing Director for Cannabis Science, revealed the new digital platform and demonstrated the technology at the CBIS booth. Pitsicalis coordinated many interviews with Cannabis Planet TV, Arizona Clinics TV, The Phoenix Arizona Times, and local news and media. As a result, we had the honor to meet with a brain cancer survivor of an extremely dangerous surgery. In December of last year, he had a second operation to try to reduce the large mass in his brain. With stage 4 cancer, he came to Cannabis Science to help us create awareness for other cancer patients worldwide so that they too might understand there is hope with cannabis. The patient had not been a previous cannabis user, and was amazed at the impact the plant had on him. In fact, it prevented him from taking his own life, when he was no longer able to cope with having multiple grand mal seizures daily. The patients close friend begged him to smoke cannabis. When he did, he stopped having seizures. He told us he drove 7 hours to meet Dr. Robert Melamede because he was watching his videos our website and YouTube and found hope. The patient wanted to go to the conference to meet him and other doctors and scientists attending the conference.
The Patients Out of Time charity benefit dinner included entertainment by Greta Gaines from her upcoming album “Grassy Girl;” a live and silent auction, and a guest appearance by Gigi Ganjay. Greta’s information may be found at http://www.gretagaines.com , http://www.cannibuzz.com , and her reel at http://www.conlincasting.net/Gretareel/Greta_Gaines/Reel.html Greta Gaines is a client of Kaneabis (a Cannabis Science company).
If you would like to view information that Cannabis Science provided to the attendees of the conference, please visit our website.
Dr. Robert Melamede stated, “Things have never been better for Cannabis Science and this was confirmed at the conference this past weekend. Not only were we part of an historic event with Patients Out of Time, the amount of consciousness and knowledge gained by everyone attending will shape the medicinal science of the industry going forward. Furthermore, our network of professionals increased substantially as we continue to grow the Cannabis Science business model. Most importantly, this conference was a success because it was about the patients, and we heard dramatic testimonials from them, It was all about doing the right things, with the right people, for the right reasons.”
About Cannabis Science, Inc.
Cannabis Science, Inc. is at the forefront of pharmaceutical grade medical marijuana research and development. The second formulations will address the needs of patients choosing to use concentrated cannabis extracts to treat their ailments. Eventually, all Americans will have access to a safe and effective FDA approved medicine regardless of which state they live in. To maintain that marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug with no medical value is scientifically absurd. Cannabis medicines, with no effective lethal dose, are far safer than aspirin, acetaminophen, and most other OTC drugs that kill thousands of Americans every year.
The Company works with world authorities on phytocannabinoid science targeting critical illnesses, and adheres to scientific methodologies to develop, produce and commercialize phytocannabinoid-based pharmaceutical products. In sum, we are dedicated to the creation of cannabis-based medicines, both with and without psychoactive properties, to treat disease and the symptoms of disease, as well as for general health maintenance.
Forward Looking Statements
This Press Release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. A statement containing works such as “anticipate,” “seek,” intend,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “plan,” or similar phrases may be deemed “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Some or all of the events or results anticipated by these forward-looking statements may not occur. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the future U.S. and global economies, the impact of competition, and the Company’s reliance on existing regulations regarding the use and development of cannabis-based drugs. Cannabis Science, Inc. does not undertake any duty nor does it intend to update the results of these forward-looking statements.
SOURCE: Cannabis Science, Inc.
Cannabis Science Inc. Dr. Robert J. Melamede President & CEO 888-889-0888 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cannabisscience.com or Robert Kane Vice President of Investor Relations 561-234-6929 email@example.com www.cannabisscience.com CONTINUE READING...