Written by: Trevor Steele, Peak Associate


Cannabis may help provide pain and seizure relief

Recent research led by SFU faculty revealed how cannabis may help relieve pain and seizures. The study was led by Reza Ghovanloo and Peter Ruben from SFU’s department of biomedical physiology and kinesiology. They partnered with scientists from Burnaby-based Xenon Pharmaceuticals to conduct their research.

The researchers examined proteins that control electricity in the nervous system, finding that cannabidiol (CBD), which is present in cannabis in significant amounts, interacted with proteins that control pain and seizure signals. CBD halted the activity of the proteins, therefore providing relief from pain and seizures.

The researchers hope their findings will lead to further research on the use of cannabis to help patients with epilepsy.

The study was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


New genetic mutation related to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma identified

A new study has given further insight into Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).The lead authors of the study are Ryan Morin, professor and researcher at SFU’s department of molecular biology and biochemistry, and PhD candidate Sarah Arthur.

NHL is one of the most common types of cancer in Canada. The researchers focused on the most common form of NHL, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and looked at the genetic mutations that can cause it.

According to Morin, mutations in over 100 genes can trigger the onset of DLBCL. Researchers in the field of cancer genetics have traditionally concentrated on the mutations that occur in the “coding” areas. However, these areas make up only about 2% of the genome. Morin and Arthur took a different approach and examined whole genomes, leading them to their findings.

They found that a third of participants in the study, who had a specific sub-type of DLBCL, had a mutation in a region of the gene known as the three prime untranslated region. This mutation resulted in an abundance of a protein which Morin and Arthur believe may make patients resistant to certain cancer treatments.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.