Medicine

Cannabinoid Improves Survival Rates of Mice wtih Pancreatic Cancer

Cannabinoid Improves Survival Rates of Mice wtih Pancreatic Cancer

". KPC mice treated with a combination of the GPR55 antagonist Cannabidiol (CBD) and gemcitabine (GEM, one of the most used drugs to treat PDAC), survived almost three times longer compared to mice treated with vehicle or GEM alone", state the researchers.

The prognosis for many patients isn't good, with a five-year survival rate of just 5%.

Mice treated with this combination of drugs had a median survival of 56 days, compared to 20 days for those left untreated, while mice receiving chemotherapy alone lived for a median 23.5 days.

The study only looked at the effect of this treatment in mice, and clinical trials in humans are needed to confirm whether or not CBD improves survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients.

A virus is also put into the mice to makes the cancer send out signals so the immune cells notice it.

"We found that mice with pancreatic cancer survived almost three times longer if a constituent of medicinal cannabis was added to their chemotherapy treatment". In 2015, pancreatic cancers were responsible for 411,600 deaths, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates doctors will diagnose 55,440 new cases of the disease before the end of 2018. The disease is particularly aggressive and has one of the lowest survival rate of all cancers.

Lead researcher Professor Marco Falasca from Queen Mary said: "This is a remarkable result".

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As such, CBD is already cleared for use in clinics, however products including cannabis oil, which contain controlled substances such as THC, are still controlled.

A cannabis drug may help to extend the lives of pancreatic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, new research suggests.

Professor David Nutt, who is a former government adviser on drugs in the United Kingdom, is happy about the development, telling The Guardian that he suspects this study is only the first in a wave of research documenting the positive effects of cannabinoids in treating cancer.

If these results could be replicated in humans, he adds, cannabidiol could be used immediately in cancer clinics, since it is already approved for use in clinics.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is extracted by soaking the plant in alcohol and then evaporating the liquid.

Disclosures: This project was made possible by an Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation grant and a Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund grant.


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