In the U.S., there has always been a raised eyebrow in the
room when it comes to using marijuana for medicinal purposes, but it’s slowly
eroding with more and more states passing legislation in favor of the use of
marijuana for health reasons.
Make no mistake about it, medical marijuana is big business
and prescription cannabis is now available in 18 states, the nation’s capital,
and eleven more states are considering legalizing the drug medically as
well. The numbers are staggering – in
this country, we’re talking about a $1.7-billion medical marijuana market and
Marijuana’s reputation is well documented and the once
raised eyebrow at the mere mention of passing laws allowing its use is now
starting to lower a bit as positive press defines the amazing benefits that can
be realized from the drug. It will be
the research and studies done by biotechnology companies like Nuvilex Inc.
(OTCQB: NVLX) subsidiary, Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc. and Cannabis
Science, Inc. (OTCQB: CBIS) that helps change the image of marijuana from
solely a drug to a medicine.
When serious diseases like brain, pancreatic, and other
forms of cancer strike, patients aren’t too concerned where a cure comes from,
so Nuvilex, Cannabis Science and other biotechs are hard at work discovering
the medical advantages of marijuana.
The use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back more
than 3,000 years, and Cannabis was introduced into Western medicine in the
1840s. Its use was promoted because of
its reported analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and
antispasmodic effects. The components of
marijuana that have shown medical activity are broadly known as “cannabinoids”
– approximately 70 cannabinoids have been found in Cannabis sativa.
Many of the companies in the medical marijuana industry are focused
on growing and distributing marijuana or producing a number of products that
contain marijuana in one form or another.
Nuvilex, however, established a subsidiary to study the
medical applications of marijuana and will use its expertise, current research
and its success in the biotechnology sector in an effort to make Medical
Marijuana Sciences, Inc. among the leaders in the
industry. In this role, the company will
initially utilize cannabidiol, one of the compounds found in Cannabis, as the
basis for developing treatments for some of the deadliest forms of cancer that
have historically shown they’re extremely difficult to treat. Medical Marijuana Sciences will initially
focus on pancreatic cancer and cancers of the brain – specifically
Nuvilex's COO, Dr. Gerald Crabtree said of the advantages
the new subsidiary has in the industry…
"Nuvilex's "in-house" experience in drug
development, particularly in the cancer area, coupled with the knowledge
gleaned during the development of our pancreatic cancer treatment, serves as a
strong foundation upon which Medical Marijuana Sciences can build treatments,
using constituents of Cannabis, for deadly forms of cancer.
By pursuing "hard targets" like cancers of the
pancreas and brain, Medical Marijuana Sciences can position itself among the
leading entities involved in the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes."
Nuvilex is already heavily invested in developing a
pancreatic cancer treatment using its living cell encapsulation
technology. The company has gone
through two independent Phase II clinical studies in patients with advanced,
non-surgically-removable (inoperable), pancreatic cancer, using living cells encapsulated with its unique technology
that are capable of converting the widely-used anti-cancer drug, ifosfamide,
into its “cancer-killing” form.
The results from a second independent clinical trial with
the cell encapsulation-ifosfamide combination confirmed the results found in
the first Phase II trial. Both trials
offer sets of data that were done at different times, with different
populations, and in different hospitals.
In the first trial, one location was used; however the second Phase II
trial expanded its database by using 4 different hospitals.
Twenty-seven (27) patients were included in the trials and a
substantial response was seen in that the use of the living cell
encapsulation-ifosfamide combination helped patients to a better outcome than
that previously reported with standard single-drug (Gemzar)therapy; Gemzar is still the only drug approved by the FDA as a
single agent for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Results from these trials included:
Median Survival Time and One-Year Survival Rate
were almost doubled as compared to historical data for Gemzar.
The severity of ifosfamide's side effects was
reduced because only one-third of its usual dose was used.
No damage to tissues surrounding capsules was
Cells within the capsules were protected from
attack by the patients’ immune systems.
Cells inside the capsules were alive and
functioning – even after more than two years.
Another positive found in the two trial’s results is that
patients didn’t see any serious side effects in the studies.
As Nuvilex prepares to enter a large-scale, late-stage trial
with its living cell encapsulation- ifosfamide combination, Dr.
Crabtree said that the obvious question to ask with the work to be done at
Medical Marijuana Sciences is “Would the addition of a cannabinoid such as cannabidiol
to the company’s treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer already being studied
result in an even greater length of survival than that reported for our cell
encapsulation-ifosfamide combination pancreatic cancer treatment alone? At least, it may be possible to treat the
pain and cachexia, or ‘wasting’ syndrome, often associated with advanced
cancers through the use of cannabinoids.”
And, with the results found in the first two studies at
Nuvilex being extremely impressive, if the subsidiary can find in its work that
it’s able to extend the length of survival beyond those results, then cancer
patients can continue to find hope – and the face of medical marijuana can be
changed for the better forever.
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