A group of Australian researchers will be the first to conduct a clinical trial to determine whether cannabis will kill brain cancer cells in live patients. Nearly 82 patients with glioma, a form of brain cancer, will be chosen to take medical THC for a three month period along with their regular treatment. Ideally the THC will slow the growth of cancerous cells in addition to killing them and preventing regrowth.
“The standard treatment for a brain tumor is basically surgery, chemotherapy and radiation,” said Dr. Janet Schloss from Endeavor College of Natural Health. Dr. Schloss hopes the trial will improve the patients’ overall quality of life.
“I deal with people suffering with cancer on a regular basis, and I see the loss of hope. This trial means the world – not just for me, but for patients,” said Dr. Schloss. Michael Sughrue, a neurosurgeon and one of the trial’s key investigators, says that these particular tumors can be difficult to treat as they’re often made up of hundreds of various types of cancer cells.
“We know our drugs work on some, but not all of them. So we need more bullets in our gun essentially,” Sughrue told AAP on Monday. The trial has received a lot of attention from people who hope it will help them, including Lyn Boyle, a 59-year-old woman who suffers from seizures, headaches and confusion, all because of her Glioma.
Boyle had been against the use of cannabis for most of her life but says she is becoming more desperate as time wears on and says this is her last resort. She was diagnosed with glioma in 2013 and though her tumor was at one point reduced, it is growing back aggressively.
“Even if it doesn’t work for me, it may help someone else. If it helps anybody else then that makes me happy,” said Boyle. The trial is being funded by BioCeuticals and has ethics approval as well as approval by the New South Wales Ministry of Health. It is set to begin in two weeks at the Prince of Wales hospital in Sydney.
Patients wishing to take part in the trial can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Author: Celia Carr
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