A cannabinoid can fight prostate cancer. Study of the Cnr-breakinglatest.news-Breaking Latest News

A team of researchers from the Cnr has discovered that a non-psychotropic component of cannabis is able to counteract the phase in which prostate cancer becomes refractory to hormonal therapy. All the details

When prostate cancer becomes refractory to hormone therapy, a positive contribution may come from a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, which affects the metabolism of prostate cancer. To say it is one studio Published on Pharmacological Research and conducted by a group of researchers from the Biomolecular Chemistry Institute of the National Research Council (Cnr-Icb).

Also participating were the Complex Metabolic Diseases and Mitochondria Unit of the Biomedical Research Institute of Barcelona and the Complex and Non-Linear Systems Research Unit of the University of Portsmouth, UK.

THE DISCOVERY

The research – coordinated by Alessia Ligresti (first researcher of the Cnr-Icb of Pozzuoli) in collaboration with Roberto Ronca (professor at the University of Brescia) – has, in fact, demonstrated that when prostate cancer becomes refractory to hormonal therapy, there are metabolic and oncogenic vulnerabilities that can potentially be exploited therapeutically by treatments based on phytocannabinoids.

HOW CANNABINOID WORKS

The component identified by the researchers proved to be capable of specifically targeting the metabolic plasticity of the carcinoma by modulating the bioenergetics of the mitochondria, ie the ‘power plant’ of the cells.

“Cancer cells, especially those in an advanced stage, are able to modify their metabolism to support the increased energy demand,” explained Ligresti. “This ability, also known as metabolic reprogramming, plays a key role both in prostate cancer oncogenesis, ie the process that leads to the transformation of normal cells into cancerous cells, and in the acquisition of drug resistance. However, the dynamics between metabolism and oncogenesis are not fully understood.”

THE ROLE OF CANNABINOIDS IN THE TREATMENT OF CANCER

Cannabinoids of plant origin, notes the Cnr, have been used for many decades as palliative agents for cancer patients, but in recent years several similar compounds and cannabinoid-based drugs have been the subject of intense research for their potential anticancer activity .

“Our study demonstrates how, in preclinical models, CBD (approved by the FDA and already prescribed to treat seizures associated with different forms of childhood epilepsy), when suitably combined with other non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, is particularly effective in reducing the growth of the hormone refractory prostate cancer, targeting the mitochondria,” Ligresti added.

THE KEY PROTEIN THAT CBD LINKS TO

As the researcher explains, “one of the key proteins regulating mitochondrial function, and which is responsible for both cellular metabolism and the cell death/survival signaling pathway, is VDAC1. By binding to VDAC1, CBD causes an acceleration of the metabolism of the tumor cell, triggering compensatory mechanisms that activate the so-called programmed death or apoptosis”.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE THERAPEUTIC POTENTIAL OF CANNABINOIDS

The study sheds light on the importance of using these molecules in optimal combinations to take full advantage of them therapeutic potential as anticancer agents: “The hope – said Ligresti – is that these results favor future studies, including clinical trials, on the possible use of non-psychotropic cannabinoids as adjuvants for the treatment of prostate cancer”.

DATA ON PROSTATE CANCER

In Italy, according to the Airc Foundation, prostate cancer, as of November 2021, was the most common cancer in the male population and accounted for 18.5% of all cancers diagnosed in men. Estimates for the year 2020 spoke of 36,074 new cases a year nationwide.

Despite the high incidence, the risk of the disease having an unfortunate outcome is low, especially if it is treated in time. Compared to 2015, in 2020 a reduction in mortality rates of 15.6% was estimated and 5 years after diagnosis, about 92% of men are still alive, one of the highest percentages in the case of cancer, especially if the advanced average age of the patients is taken into account.

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