Friday August 17, 2018

Pancreatic Cancer: Cannabis Compound May Boost Survival

While the current study only looked at the effect of CBD in mice, clinical trials in humans are needed to confirm whether or not CBD improves survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients

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Cannabinoid may up survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients. Pixabay
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A naturally occurring constituent of medicinal cannabis along with chemotherapy could increase the survival rate by three times among mice with pancreatic cancer, according to a new study.

According to the researchers, the cannabinoid named Cannabidiol (CBD) does not cause psychoactive effects and has been already cleared for use at the clinics.

“This is a remarkable result. We found that mice with pancreatic cancer survived nearly three times longer if a constituent of medicinal cannabis was added to their chemotherapy treatment,” said lead author Marco Falasca from Queen Mary University of London in Britain.

“Cannabidiol is already approved for use in clinics, which means we can quickly go on to test this in human clinical trials. If we can reproduce these effects in humans, cannabidiol could be in use in cancer clinics almost immediately, compared to having to wait for authorities to approve a new drug,” he added.

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Cannabis leaf. Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal Oncogene, the team tested the impact of the cannabidiol on the use of the commonly used chemotherapy medication Gemcitabine as a treatment for pancreatic cancer in mice.

“Given the five-year survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer is less than seven per cent, the discovery of new treatments and therapeutic strategies is urgently needed,” Falasca noted.

Also Read: Research: Gene Linked to Hair Loss May Improve Cancer Treatment

The team explained that CBD is also known to improve the side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, meaning it could also improve the quality of life of patients undergoing chemotherapy.

While the current study only looked at the effect of CBD in mice, clinical trials in humans are needed to confirm whether or not CBD improves survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

turmeric
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)