September 23rd, 2019

To Your Health: Study suggests cannabis is key to pancreatic cancer cure

By GILLIAN SLADE on August 26, 2019.

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

There have been a lot of rumours about the effectiveness of cannabis curing diseases and I have been hesitant to even report them because I wanted a study from a reputable source.

Now a study out of Harvard is suggesting that cannabis could be the key to curing pancreatic cancer.

Harvard University treated mice that had pancreatic cancer with a cannabis compound and 70% of them had tumours that disappeared. While the study is incredibly exciting the researchers have noted that it does not mean this is the cure.

The results of the study were published in July in a medical journal called Frontiers of Oncology.

About 93% of those with pancreatic cancer, a difficult to treat disease, generally die within five years so this cannabis flavonids treatment killing all the tumor cells in such a high percentage of mice in incredibly exciting. The researchers are hopeful a treatment could be available for humans for testing next year.

In this study the researchers did not use a cannabinoid such as CBD nor the THC either. They used a compound created from the flavonoids present in the plant that gives it its colour and called it FBL-03G.

“People have done studies before showing that sometimes cannabis works against cancer, and sometimes it doesn’t,’ co-author of the new Harvard study, Dr Wilfred Ngwa, told a British newspaper.

The researchers’ first task was to determine which part of the plant had a compound that would be most effective and tested them on cancerous tumours. Combined with that they used radiation therapy to put the compound directly into the tumours in the mice. They were so surprised at the results they had to take a second look to ensure it really was this successful.

The tumours stopped growing and some simply vanished.

The researchers believe there is an immune modulation property in FBL-03G. This could be creating antigen cells and they in turn train the T-cells similar to a vaccine to recognize the cancer.

If this is correct it could mean the immune system would recognize it if the cancer returned.

Ngwa said this does not mean cancer patients should be turning to cannabis and variations of it. He says more studies are needed.

As this study points out a lot of research went in to determine which properties of the cannabis plant were going to be effective for pancreatic cancer.

The last thing you want to hear if you are dealing with pancreatic cancer is that you need to be “patient” but that is what the researchers say. Another exciting aspect of this research is the relatively inexpensive treatment this would be compared to developing a drug.

You can see the published study here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fonc.2019.00660/full

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her at gslade@medicinehatnews.com or 403-528-8635.

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