Jul 22, 2016 9:25 AM

University of Canberra Will Trial Medical Marijuana in Treatment of Melanoma

Australian scientists are going to work out a new cannabis-based medicine for skin cancer, with clinical trials to begin in the ACT in 2017.

The University of Canberra has already signed a deal with Cann Pharmaceutical Australia to create a new treatment for 50,000 Australians diagnosed with melanoma.

In a two-year research, cellular and molecular biologist Professor Sudha Rao will study how medical marijuana can be combined with radiation and other therapies to treat cancer. The first results of the trials could be presented next year.

Every year, approximately 13,000 Australians are diagnosed with melanoma. Moreover, the disease may kill up to 1800 people Australia and New Zealand only this year.

The medicinal marijuana that is going to be used both in ACT clinical and laboratory trials is a special strain cultivated in Israel.

Professor Rao and her team are known for their innovative study of cannabis-based medicine. The scientists were first to discover a certain enzyme’s function in the spread of cancer stem cells. Now they are researching whether "switching off" cancer stem cells can prevent cancer from recurring. The key of the innovative project performed by scientists is to connect the research with the treatment.

Andrew McRea, the managing director at Cann Pharmaceutical Australia, recently announced that the research would be trying to create a treatment that could assist the immune system. Moreover, the scientists hope this new treatment can be used along with chemotherapy for people with melanoma and other cancer patients.

The new study may make a breakthrough not only in cancer treatment but also in the legality of medicinal marijuana in Australia.

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