GW Pharma has kicked off its first human trial of an experimental cannabinoid compound designed to treat brain tumours.

The firm announced that it has commenced a 20-patient PhaseIb/2a clinical trial of a candidate drug from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform in Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM).

GBM is a particularly aggressive but rare type of brain tumour for which, the firm says, there are limited treatment options, leaving patients with a very poor prognosis.  

The firm says it is very excited about the potential of its orphan-classified drug, after several years' preclinical research showed that cannabinoids inhibit the viability of glioma cells via apoptosis, potentially affect angiogenesis, and have a tumour growth-inhibiting action.

A spokesman for GW told PharmaTimes World News that its compound is differentiated from other GBM drugs on the market because of "both the lack of toxicity…as well as evidence from preclinical research that [it] has an added benefit over and above temozolomide, the current standard treatment".

The spokesman was not able to indicate when headlines results may become available at this time. 

It's been a good few weeks for GW; last month, shares received a substantial boost after a US-based analyst hiked up its price target citing massive potential for one of the firm's experimental cannabis-based epilepsy drugs and its overall orphan drug pipeline.