Cannabinoid-based therapeutic for glioblastoma
PAS-403 (previously known as ST-403) is a mitosis inhibitor that blocks cell division. The cannabinoid-based product is undergoing development for the treatment of glioblastoma and brain metastases originating from other cancers. Several mitotic inhibitors approved for cancer treatment show substantial benefit in reducing solid tumors when combined with other chemotherapeutics. However, unlike PAS-403, none of these agents cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore have no activity on glioblastoma or other brain cancers.
PAS-403 was discovered in the laboratory of renowned cannabis researcher Dr. Nephi Stella, professor of pharmacology at the University of Washington and founder and co-director of the UW Center for Cannabis Research. Pascal licensed PAS-403 from the UW and expects to enter human clinical studies in 2019.
Glioblastoma multiforme is a devastating disease due to its high rate of recurrence, limited treatment options and aggressive nature. According to the National Brain Tumor Society, glioblastoma strikes about 15,000 patients each year in North America with a median survival rate of 12 to 17 months. Therapies to treat glioblastoma are limited to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy and, more recently, tumor treating fields. The only chemotherapeutic approved for glioblastoma is temozolomide, which was developed over 50 years ago and which extends survival by only two months. Temozolomide kills tumor cells by causing DNA damage, a mechanism that is different from Pascal’s compounds.