Opportunity to Improve Outcomes in At-Risk Patients
Jay Pharma seeks to advance novel combinations of CBD with chemotherapeutic agents and immunotherapies. Preclinical data suggests combination therapies may improve the activity of certain chemotherapies or dendritic cell-based cancer immunotherapies, potentially enabling more potent or longer-lasting therapeutic effects.
In addition, Jay Pharma’s combination therapy may allow for the same or greater therapeutic effect with a lower dose of the chemotherapeutic agent, potentially minimizing the severity of side effects.
Because cancer cells contain largely the same proteins and other targets as the healthy cells in the body, there are few cancer-specific druggable targets; chemotherapies often simply target all rapidly-proliferating cells in the body. While chemotherapy can be successful in suppressing tumors, there are many side effects associated with use; side effects may increase with higher doses.
The ability to provide the same or greater therapeutic effect with a smaller overall dose of the chemotherapeutic agent may minimize the risk and severity of side effects in subjects and allow for the treatment of certain patients with weakened immune systems.
Cannabinoid Combination with AEBS Inhibitors
The use of cannabis in cancer management has traditionally been relegated to symptomatic management, including as an analgesic, anti-emetic, and appetite stimulant. However, more recently, mounting evidence has suggested a therapeutic, anti-tumor effect of certain naturally occurring cannabinoids. Specifically, CBD has been shown to reduce tumor size, potential for invasion and metastasis, and development of new tumor-associated blood vessels in multiple in vitro and in vivo models of solid tumors and blood cancers (Ladin, Front Pharmacol, 2016; Massi, Br J Pharmacol, 2013).
There is also evidence to suggest that CBD used in combination with traditional chemotherapies and a certain class of compounds, the cholesterol epoxide hydrolase (ChEH) / antiestrogen binding site (AEBS) inhibitors, may be even more efficacious than CBD alone (Scott, Int J Oncol, 2017). AEBS regulates cholesterol metabolism and, consequently, cell growth (Payre, Mol Cancer Ther, 2008).
Two AEBS inhibitors that have proven especially promising are clomiphene citrate and DPPE. Clomiphene is an estrogen modulator typically used to treat infertility. However, in combination with CBD, clomiphene was recently shown to synergistically reduce cell viability and increase rates of programmed cell death in certain cancer cell lines, while also inhibiting tumor growth in vivo (WO2017072773A1). DPPE, on the other hand, is a tamoxifen derivative that is thought to sensitize cancer cells to the activities of chemotherapies. As a tumor grows and mutates, cancer cells can become resistant to therapies in several ways – tumors can overexpress efflux pumps that remove certain agents from the cell or can upregulate enzymes that metabolize and inactivate chemotherapies. DPPE was shown to potentiate the toxicity of multiple chemotherapeutic drugs by both mechanisms (Georges, Biochemical Pharm, 2014; Brandes, Cancer CHemother Pharmacol, 2000).
Cannabinoid Combination with Immunotherapies
Dendritic cells (DCs) process antigen material and present it on the cell surface to the T-cells of the immune system. A range of cancer immunotherapies involving DCs have been used to generate tumor-specific immune responses that have had variable success in clinical trials.
CBD may cause DCs to increase their production of IL-12 p70, an interleukin-12 (IL-12) family cytokine that may heighten the immune system’s response against certain cancers. IL-12 is closely linked to the activity of the immune system and is produced by DCs. IL-12 can bring T-cells and natural killer cells out of dormancy so that a heightened immune response against tumors is possible. By aiding in the generation of CD4+ (T helper cells), IL-12 also can also elicit a longer lasting and amplified anti-tumor response.
Injected IL-12 has presented challenges in terms of its toxicity and dosage control and there is a need for generating heightened levels of IL-12, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Preclinical research suggests that CBD may induce DCs to increase their production of IL-12 p70.