31 August 2023
A major UK clinical trial to treat the most aggressive brain tumour has opened at the Velindre Cancer Centre.
The three-year phase II trial known as ARISTOCRAT, funded by The Brain Tumour Charity, will investigate whether combining cannabinoids and chemotherapy can help extend the lives of people diagnosed with recurrent glioblastoma.
Jillian Maclean, Consultant Oncologist at Velindre Cancer Centre, said:
"This is a really exciting trial that we're delighted to be involved in and a great opportunity for brain tumour patients to potentially improve their quality of life and survival outcomes.
"Our Research Team has worked really hard to open this study here at Velindre Cancer Centre. We've recruited our first patient and I'm hoping there will be many more in the future.
"Survival of high-grade brain tumours is very limited despite intense and active research, so the opportunity for another treatment option will be extremely valuable to patients."
It will recruit more than 230 glioblastoma patients at 14 NHS hospitals across Great Britain in 2023, and anyone interested in this study should speak to their medical team first to ensure they are eligible to participate.
Participants will self-administer nabiximols, a cannabis extract, or a placebo oral spray and will undergo regular follow-ups with the clinical trial team, including blood tests and MRI scans.
In August 2021, a fundraising appeal by The Brain Tumour Charity, backed by Olympic champion Tom Daley, raised the £450,000 needed for this phase II trial in just three months.
Dr David Jenkinson, Chief Scientific Officer at The Brain Tumour Charity, which is funding the trial, said:
“We are really excited that this world-first trial, being run here in the UK, could help accelerate a cure for this devastating disease.
“The early-stage findings were really promising, and we now look forward to understanding whether adding nabiximols to chemotherapy could help improve quality of life and extend life for those affected by a glioblastoma diagnosis. We hope that this will offer the first new drug to treat glioblastoma in over 15 years.”
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of brain cancer with an average survival of less than 10 months after recurrence.
In 2021, the phase I clinical trial in 27 patients found that nabiximols could be tolerated by patients in combination with chemotherapy and has the potential to extend the lives of those with recurrent glioblastoma.
Should the trial prove successful, experts hope that nabiximols could represent a new, promising addition to NHS treatment for glioblastoma patients since temozolomide chemotherapy in 2007.
How can I take part in the trial?
Please speak to your treatment team about eligibility for the trial.
For more information visit: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/crctu/trials/aristocrat/index.aspx