Investigating Cannflavins A and B as Inhibitors of TrkB Signaling for Treatment of Glioblastoma Multiforme

Glioblastoma is the most common type of adult brain cancer. Glioblastoma tumors are very aggressive because these cells can rapidly invade deep into healthy tissue, which makes them particularly difficult to attack with current treatment options including surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Therefore, better pharmaceutical strategies to neutralize glioblastoma cells without damaging surrounding healthy cells is critically needed needed.Cells communicate with one another using biochemical signaling pathways, through which they exchange information that stimulate cellular changes like proliferation and migration. This project focuses on a growth factor receptor called TrkB that promotes the activity of signals important for cell survival, proliferation, and migration. Importantly, defect in the activity of TrkB has been connected with glioblastoma, and blocking this signal is considered a possible solution to limit these cancer cells. While screening for new modulators of TrkB in neurons, we found that cannflavins—a class of non-cannabinoid molecules that accumulates specifically in the cannabis plant—could prevent TrkB activation. The objective of this Mitacs Accelerate application by the Lalonde lab and Canurta is to complete a systematic preclinical characterization of cannflavins as candidate therapeutic agents against GBM cells.

Jennifer Holborn
Faculty Supervisor: 
Jasmin Lalonde
Partner University: