Pascal Biosciences discovers cannabinoids activate the major histocompatibility complex to aid cancer treatment

According to a press releasePascal Biosciences Inc. today revealed the mechanism whereby cannabinoids may directly aid in cancer treatment.

Specific cannabinoids identified by Pascal scientists enhance the immunogenicity of tumor cells, rendering them more susceptible to recognition and elimination by the immune system. Besides combatting infection, one of the key roles of the immune system is to identify and eliminate cancer cells that can arise during the normal course of cell growth in healthy individuals. The Major Histocompatibility Complex (“MHC”) is the cellular machinery that flags tumor cells for the immune system. However, most metastatic tumor cells have lost their MHC expression, and thus escape immune system killing. Specific cannabinoids reactivate MHC expression and may restore immune cell destruction of tumors. This could aid cancer treatment, particularly by boosting the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, an exciting form of immunotherapy that is only effective in a fraction of patients.

Pascal first discovered that cannabinoids can stimulate the immune system to destroy tumor cells in February 2018. Since then, Pascal has tested over 400 natural and synthetic cannabinoids in Pascal’s proprietary assays. Pascal has further studied the immune activities that occur with cannabinoid treatment.

Pascal CEO Patrick Gray will present these exciting results at the CannMed 2019 Conference – Inspiring Science, Community & Hope – taking place September 23-24 at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA.

“We have made great progress since first announcing our results last year. We now have a much better understanding of the interplay between cannabinoids, the immune system, and cancer,” said Dr. Gray. “This work has enabled us to choose a specific cannabinoid with a good safety profile for human testing. We are nearing clinical development and we have the scientific understanding and patent protection to move our product forward.”