PharmaCyte Biotech develops cannabinoid-activating cell line for cancer treatment

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PharmaCyte Biotech (OTCQB:PMCB) and its research partner, the University of Northern Colorado, have developed a cannabinoid-activating human cell line for use in its live-cell encapsulation technology for the treatment of cancer.

PharmaCyte’s live-cell encapsulation technology consists of capsules that are permeable to drugs and prodrugs, but not to cells. The capsules, which contain human cell lines that have been engineered to produce prodrug-activating enzymes, are injected into blood vessels near the treatment site, such as an organ or a malignancy. The prodrug is administered by IV, and as it approaches the treatment site, flows through the capsule and is converted to its active form.

Based on cannabinoids’ anti-cancer effects, PharmaCyte’s cannabis program - which is initially focused on brain cancer - aims to use this platform technology to enable activation of cannabinoid prodrugs at tumor sites.

“The next step is to test the efficiency of the transfected cells in converting cannabinoid prodrugs into their active cancer-fighting forms. If the cells are suitably active, they would then be propagated to the point that they can then be encapsulated,” Dr. Mark Rabe, PharmaCyte’s director of cannabis program development, said in a statement.

PharmaCyte is planning to conduct a Phase 2b trial in pancreatic cancer patients testing encapsulated ifosfamide-activating cells in combination with low-dose ifosfamide, compared to chemoradiation therapy. PharmaCyte’s pancreatic cancer treatment has received orphan drug designation in the U.S. and the EU.

Michelle Carr