Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) announced Thursday it successfully imported medical cannabis into the U.S. in support of the first human study to test if marijuana can eliminate a harsh side-effect caused by breast cancer treatments.
The British Columbia-based company said the study, which led by scientists at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) in New York, is aimed at providing relief for breast cancer patients suffering from taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy (TIPN).
TIPN is a progressive condition where nerve damage causes numbness and pain in the hands and feet. It affects more than 67 per cent of women who undergo chemotherapy and forces doctors to shorten breast cancer treatments for some patients, leading to less effective results. Although currently there is no effective treatment for the disorder, use of cannabis has shown positive results in mice.
“We’re excited to support this groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind trial seeking to find a new treatment option for TIPN,” Philippe Lucas, the company’s vice president of global patient research and access, said in a release. “Tilray is committed to advancing cannabis research through its support of clinical trials around the world as we continue to enhance our understanding of the potential benefits of medical cannabis.”
The clinical trial will give half of its patients a medical cannabis product containing a combination of THC and CBD twice daily for eight weeks. The other half will receive a placebo.
“There is a critical need for randomized controlled clinical studies to test the efficacy of cannabis in patients,” said Margaret Haney, a professor of neurbiology and one of the two lead scientists on the trial.
“There is exciting pre-clinical evidence showing that THC and CBD significantly reduce TIPN, and our study will be the first to test this in a well powered clinical trial.”
This groundbreaking clinical trial with @ColumbiaPsych is the first human study testing the effectiveness of medical cannabis to treat TIPN — a disorder that affects more than 67% of women undergoing breast cancer treatment. https://t.co/Ve679Y1aaU
— Tilray (@tilray) October 24, 2019
Tilray helps boost cannabis industry potential
Although the news doesn’t improve Tilray’s bottom line, it was taken as a positive by investors as the pot stock jumped as much as 14 per cent on the announcement.
The company touts itself as a global pioneer in medical cannabis research and it now supports 10 clinical trials across the globe by adding this latest one in New York. Other trials studying the efficacy of medical cannabis as a treatment include pediatric epilepsy, essential tremor, PTSD and alcohol use disorder.
Tilray supplies medical marijuana in 13 countries, and it recently expanded its cultivation facility in Portugal to supply the burgeoning European market.
October is breast cancer awareness month and the CUIMC clinical trial could be lead to a major breakthrough in treating the disease that currently 1 in 8 American women suffer from.
If successful, the clinical trial could also lead to a major win for the industry by demonstrating the value of medical cannabis which could lead to increased use by doctors around the world.
However, like much of the major pot companies Tilray stock is down almost 70 per cent since the start of the year and will need some better financial results over potential to reverse that.
Researchers are currently recruiting patients for the CUIMC study, which will get underway soon.