Pancreatic Cancer: Cannabidiol + Chemotherapy Improved Survival (in mice)

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Scientists at Curtin and Queen Mary University of London tested the impact the naturally occurring cannabinoid "Cannabidiol" had on the use of Gemcitabine as a treatment for pancreatic cancer in mice.

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

A study carried out on mice revealed that the Cannabidiol from Cannabis might improve pancreatic cancer therapies.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 55,440 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2018.

"We found that mice with pancreatic cancer survived almost three times longer if a constituent of medicinal cannabis was added to their chemotherapy treatment", lead researcher Marco Falasca, a professor from the University of London, explains in a statement to Eurekalert.

Each year around 9,800 people in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Leanne Reynolds, Head of Research at PCUK said: 'For people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer there are very limited treatment options due to the complex nature of the disease.

The CBD is extracted from the Cannabis Sativa plants and is commonly used for therapeutic purposes, as it is an ingredient in many supplements and drugs.

Indeed, the life expectancy for pancreatic cancer patients has barely changed in the last 40 years because there are very few, and mostly only palliative care, treatments available.

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

"If we can reproduce these effects in humans, cannabidiol could be in use in cancer clinics nearly immediately, compared to having to wait for authorities to approve a new drug", Falasca said.

Response: Future drug development efforts could focus on using different cannabis extracts in combination to other chemotherapies to see if we can obtain an even better efficacy.

'We urgently need a new approach to treating pancreatic cancer which is why we're delighted to be funding this ground-breaking new research into immunotherapy.

CBD is already known to be helpful in easing symptoms of chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting, so it has the potential to improve the quality of a patient's life as well as extend the length of it.

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