Tumors that occur in the brain without a known origin are called gliomas. The most malignant forms are glioblastomas.
Glioblastoma is an aggressive, infiltrative type of cancer that can strike in the brain or spinal cord. Glioblastoma forms from star-shaped glial cells of the central nervous system, called astrocytes.
“While glioblastoma tends to occur more often in seniors; it can however, occur at any age,” said William Fisher, CEO of Leaf Vertical, an innovative, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical cannabidiol cancer research company. “As the cancer progresses, it can produce worsening headaches, nausea, vomiting and seizures,” Fisher continued.
Additional symptoms of glioblastoma vary greatly depending on the location of the tumor, but they may include: blurred vision, loss of appetite, changes in mood or personality, changes in ability to think and learn, memory loss, muscle weakness, and speech difficulty.
Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), can be very tough to treat and a cure is often not possible. Glioblastoma is one of the most common forms of brain cancer, affecting approximately 10,000 patients each year — about half of those patients will die within 15 months of diagnosis.
To diagnose glioblastoma, the doctor will perform a neurological exam, order imaging tests and biopsy a tissue sample for laboratory examination.
The doctor will ask about the patient’s signs and symptoms during a neurological exam. The patient’s vision, hearing, balance, strength, coordination and reflexes may be checked. An issue in any one or more of these areas will help the doctor hone in on the area(s) that may be affected by a brain tumor.
MRI’s, including functional MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, CT scans or PET scans, short for positron emission tomography, are some of the imaging tests frequently utilized to diagnose brain tumors, including glioblastoma. These image tests help the patient’s doctor identify the location and size of the tumor.
Depending on the location, size and advancement of the brain tumor, a biopsy, or removal of a tissue sample for testing, may be done with a needle before or during surgery to remove the glioblastoma. Once removed, the tissue sample will be analyzed in a laboratory to determine the aggressiveness and define the types of cells present. These laboratory tests can indicate the types of mutations the cells have experienced, giving the doctor more complete data to better indicate the patients prognosis and possible treatment options.
While glioblastoma is currently not curable, some treatments have been shown to slow the progression of the brain cancer and reduce signs and symptoms in some patients.
Brain Cancer Surgery: Currently, glioblastoma cannot be cured by surgery because it grows into the normal brain tissue; however, the patient’s neurosurgeon may indicate that surgery is still necessary to remove as much of the tumor as possible to slow its progression. A craniotomy is typically the first stage of treatment for patients with glioblastomas. Surgery may allow for the removal of brain tumor tissue to relieve pressure in the brain. Once the brain surgeon removes as much of the brain cancer as possible, many patients will receive additional treatments after surgery to target the remaining cells.
Radiation Therapy for Glioblastoma: Using high-energy beams to target and kill brain cancer cells, radiation therapy is usually recommended after surgery and possibly in combination with chemotherapy. Should a neurosurgeon not be able to perform brain surgery on a glioblastoma, he or she may use radiation therapy and chemotherapy as the primary treatment. Radiation therapy does not require an incision. Patients typically have less discomfort, shorter recovery times and fewer complications than when having surgery.
There are several methods for delivering external beam radiation therapy to treat glioblastomas:
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): IMRT is a state-of-the-art radiation delivery system that is used to treat hard to reach tumors. It can also spare healthy tissue from radiation therapy. Doctors find IMRT most useful in treating a tumor near the brain stem or other critical parts of the brain.
Stereotactic radiation therapy: Focusing radiation from various angles to the outline of the tumor, stereotactic radiation therapy is designed to reduce the damage to healthy tissue.
Chemotherapy for Brain Cancer: There are several types of chemotherapy delivery methods including pills, wafers and intravenous drugs. Chemotherapy drugs, which can be taken daily as a pill, can be used during and after radiation therapy. In some instances, chemotherapy medicine can be placed in the patient’s brain during surgery. This chemotherapy medicine comes in the form of thin, circular wafers that slowly dissolve and release the medicine to kill the cancer cells. Another type of chemotherapy can be administered through a vein in the patient’s arm or a port, if one has been initiated.
Tumor Treating Fields (TTF) Therapy: TTF or tumor treating fields therapy uses an electrical field to disrupt the tumor cells’ ability to multiply. This therapy entails adhesive pads being applied to the patients scalp and then connected to a portable device that generates an electrical field. TTF can be utilized in combination with chemotherapy and may be recommended after radiation therapy and after surgery.
Targeted Drug Therapy: Cancer research has enabled doctors to have access to targeted drugs that focus on specific abnormalities in the cancer cells. The drugs target and attack the abnormalities, so that the cancer cells die.
Clinical Trials: Studying new treatments, clinical trials give doctors and patients an opportunity to try the latest treatment options; however, the side effects of the new treatments may not be known. Patients can discuss the options and eligibility for a clinical trial with their doctor.
Cannabis Cancer Research & Clinical Trials
“Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel, multi-center studies to access the efficacy of cannabinoid formulas, with standard of care treatment in subjects with glioblastoma multiforme, multiple myeloma and GI malignancies are currently underway,” said Beaudon Spaulding, President and Chief Marketing Officer for Leaf Vertical.
Cannabidiol (CBD) Research
Several studies have shown a potential anti-tumor role for cannabinoids by modulating cell signaling pathways, inhibiting angiogenesis, inducing apoptosis, and overcoming chemotherapy resistance. In Phase I trials, cannabinoids have been shown to enhance the uptake of chemotherapy into malignant cells without affecting normal cells. The investigators seek to demonstrate that the combination of chemotherapy with CBD formulas will have a greater anti-tumor and anti-proliferative activity when compared to standard of care alone.
More About Cannabis Cancer Research for Glioblastoma
In a clinical trial, the placebo group will receive standard of care chemotherapy for patients with glioblastoma multiforme including concurrent radiation therapy and temozolomide each day, seven days per week from the first to the last day of radiotherapy, followed by six cycles of adjuvant temozolomide for 5 days during each 28-day cycle. The experimental group will additionally receive doses of a CBD formula in the morning, prior to the first meal of the day and in the afternoon, prior to the evening meal.
Objective of the Cannabidiol Clinical Trial
The primary objective of the CBD formula clinical trial studies are to evaluate the overall response rates of cancer patients as assessed by standard criteria. The secondary objectives of the study may include:
- Measuring Time to Progression (TTP) using lab results and radiographic data,
- Measuring Progression-free Survival (PFS) using lab results and radiographic data,
- Collecting patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data regarding quality-of-life, and
- Collecting clinician-reported outcomes (ClinRO) data regarding quality-of-life.
About Leaf Vertical, Inc.
Leaf Vertical Inc. is an innovative, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical research company, committed to discovering and developing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform.
For more information on Leaf Vertical, please contact Leaf Vertical by phone at 407-776-9217 or visit the company’s headquarters at 805 S. Kirkman Rd, Suite 202, Orlando, Florida 32811.