Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news News

UMCG studies cannabis oil for liver cancer patients with no further treatment options

21 April 2021

The University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) is to study the effect of cannabis oil on liver cancer patients who have exhausted all other treatment options. The aim of the study is to see whether cannabis oil acts as an anti-cancer agent that will shrink the liver tumours.

The study was started after two separate reports that patients with advanced liver cancer had seen their tumours shrink after using cannabis oil. Now, two and five years after their diagnoses, the tumours have completely disappeared and the patients are cured. Although laboratory research shows that cannabis can curb the growth of liver cancer cells, a possible anti-cancer effect of cannabis oil in patients cannot be explained as no scientific research has been carried out.

Cannabis oil

The cannabis oil being used is produced by the Transvaal apotheek, a specialist pharmacy with the certificates needed to produce drugs for research purposes. It is produced according to a fixed recipe with precise amounts of THC and CBD, two of the important substances contained in cannabis. The pharmacy only uses the cannabis flowers of the Cannabis Sativa L. variety, produced by Bedrocan. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has commissioned Bedrocan to standardize and grow the plant pharmaceutically in order to guarantee a consistent composition of the cannabis oil.

Research design

The first step in this study is to determine the correct dose for each patient. Patients will be given the maximum dose of cannabis oil that can be given without causing side-effects. Blood tests will be carried out and images made of the livers of those taking part after three, six and nine months to see whether the liver tumours are responding. The blood will be tested for the presence of tumour markers and to check the liver function of the participants.

Patients with liver cancer who have exhausted all treatment options

This study is being carried out with the help of patients with advanced liver cancer, for whom best supportive care is the only remaining option. As cannabis oil is broken down by the liver, all participants must have a good liver function. Patients with severe liver cirrhosis (liver damage caused by the formation of scar tissue) will not be considered for the study unless the cirrhosis is not affecting their liver function. Patients willing to join the study can be referred to the UMCG by their specialist. A total of 20 patients can take part. The study will last approximately three years.

Banner UMCG
Last modified:29 April 2021 2.40 p.m.
printView this page in: Nederlands

More news

  • 15 June 2021

    From ‘closed’ science to Open Science

    Vera Heininga is the Open Science coordinator and future programme leader of the upcoming Open Science programme of the University of Groningen. Together with her colleagues, she created the Open Science Community Groningen (OSCG). She explains...

  • 17 May 2021

    ‘Encouraging young people, that’s my most important job’

    Four and a half years ago, he received the Nobel Prize. During the award ceremony in Stockholm, Ben Feringa made a resolution: I will put science on the map. His mission is being given a new boost with the establishment of the Ben Feringa Fund,...

  • 10 May 2021

    ‘Give people with dementia more freedom to organize their own social lives’

    Older people with memory problems who live at home are extraordinarily resourceful when it comes to staying in control of their activities outside the home. Demographers Jodi Sturge and Mirjam Klaassens are certainly impressed. ‘It’s not about...