1 July 2016

Info Europa reports….

Medical cannabis to be trialled in treatment of melanoma at the University of Canberra

SuppliedScientists in Canberra will develop a new treatment for skin cancer using medicinal-grade cannabis, with clinical trials to begin in the ACT next year.

The University of Canberra has signed a million-dollar deal with Cann Pharmaceutical Australia to develop a new treatment for the 50,000 Australians living with melanoma.

The two-year research project, led by molecular and cellular biologist Professor Sudha Rao, will examine how cannabis can be used in combination with radiation and other therapies to treat cancer.

Medical grade cannabis will be trialled alongside chemotherapy as a new treatment for melanoma.

 Pharmaceutical Australia’s managing director Andrew McCrea said the first results of the clinical trials could be known as soon as next year.

”This research and clinical trial is designed to be fast tracked. We could get first results from this within nine months,” Mr McRea said.An estimated 13,000 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2016 and the disease is predicted to kill almost 1800 people Australia and New Zealand this year alone.

Cann Pharmaceutical Australia managing director Andrew McCrea said the first results of the clinical trials could be known in nine months.

The medicinal cannabis that will be used in both the laboratory and clinical trials in the ACT is a specialist strain grown in Israel.

More than 2500 people per month are already treated with Cann Pharmaceutical’s medicinal grade cannabis for conditions including epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

The global producer sought to work with the University of Canberra and Professor Rao because of her innovative research in the field.Professor Rao and her team were first to identify the role played by a certain enzyme in the spread of cancer stem cells and are researching whether “switching off” cancer stem cells can stop the cancer recurring.

The hope is to create a treatment that will “assist and boost the immune system” to complement traditional chemotherapy not just for melanoma sufferers but other cancer patients too, Mr McRea said.

”We understand it is the first time in the world these cannabinoids will be used with standard treatment therapies to treat melanoma,” Mr McRea said.”Because Professor Rao, her laboratory and the strains of cannabinoids  from Israel are so advanced, by putting them together hopefully we’re going to be able to make a real difference in Australians with melanoma.”