An Independent drug trial investigating cannabinoids as a treatment for gliomas in 4-6 Spanish hospitals is being crowdfunded on Walacea
Having already raised 200,000€ they just need another 85,000€ to do an independent trial without involving patents which they plan to crowdfund through Walacea.
The bike tour has been raising funds since 2012 to fund the research of scientists from the Complutense University in Madrid to highlight the potential significant therapeutic benefits of the illegal drug cannabis for brain cancer treatment. They have raised 200,000€ towards the cost of a clinical trial on patients in Spanish hospitals.
In collaboration with the Medical Cannabis Bike tour, Walacea.com plans to raise 85,000€ for the first clinical trial using cannabinoids to treat brain tumours as first line therapy. The trial will be overseen by GEINO (the Spanish Group of Neuro-oncological Investigation) with the backing of Spanish health authorities.
The Scientific Research
The Madrid scientists have been studying the potential of cannabinoids to treat cancer for the last 10 years. They have seen promising results of the drug in the treatment of breast cancer, skin cancer and brain tumours in the tissue samples they have been working on.
In the lab cannabinoids have been shown to cause Glioma Initating cells (GICs) to spontaneously commit suicide, otherwise known as apoptosis. This is really important in cancer therapy as GIC cells fuel tumour growth. If cannabinoids successfully target these cells, it could lead to a major break through in finding a cure for cancer.
Dr Velasco, one of the scientists involved in the trial, explains, “Gliomas are very difficult to treat. For example you can have a surgery and it will remove the main tumour but many microscopic particles will be left in the brain and these have the potential to spread the tumour after the operation. In these trials we will be testing whether cannabinoids in combination with other anti cancer agents can target the microscopic particles left behind.’
The potential of cannabis to treat cancer has been on the radar for a number of years and some patients have already used the illegal therapy to treat deadly tumours. When using cannabis for cancer therapy, patients use doses based on advice from websites and forums. These doses are not based on clinical trials, simply because they have not been done.
Despite many anecdotal success stories, without conducting a proper clinical trial we will never know whether recoveries from patients who used cannabis in their treatment are down to luck or the therapeutic potential of the drug. Also, without conducting clinical trials, we will not know the most effective dose for combating cancer.
The Medical Cannabis Bike Tour – Pedalling Towards a Cure
From June 11th – 13th, 80 riders and volunteers will set off from Maastricht, Holland on the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour (MCBT) to raise money for the clinical trial set to start in the Autumn. Over 3 days, they rode 420km, through Belgium, Germany and Holland aiming to raise a total of 280,000€.
So far the MCBT has raised 200,000€ towards the cost of the trials. It is hoping to raise an additional 85,000 € through crowdfunding organised by Walacea.com. The amount will help cover the cost of the drug and increase the number of patients that can be recruited, thereby increasing the robustness of the study.
The clinical trial is planned to commence in 4-6 Spanish hospitals this Autumn. They will feature 30 – 40 Glioma (brain cancer) patients, who will be treated using cannabinoids (the active compounds in cannabis – CBD and THC), in combination with other anti-cancer agents.
The programme will last 3 -4 months depending on the reaction of the patients to the therapy. The hope is that the trials will provide an extensive research base for further exploration, producing results that will be published in scientific and medical journals and lead to promising medical interventions using cannabinoids.
About The Medical Cannabis Bike Tour:
The Medical Cannabis Bike Tour is a non-profit organisation that was formed in 2012. It consists of an annual bike ride through Europe to raise funds for independent research into medical cannabis. The focus of the MCBT’s efforts are to fund the research of Dr Velasco and his University of Complutense team. The MCBT also aims to change perceptions of cannabis through the use of sport. The tour is the biggest cannabis sporting event in Europe. In the past three years €250,000 has been raised by the bike tour through sponsorship.
Walacea is a new crowdfunding platform for science that was founded by Natalie Jonk, a former scientific advisor. Walacea’s mission is to help scientists and the public connect by funding research together that benefits society.
Natalie recognised that scientific research is being stifled by funding cuts and wants to give the public an opportunity to show their hunger for important research.