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Cannabis Kills Skin Cancer Cells

Science Information Edited by Nikhil PandeyUpdated: February 14, 2024, 5:23 pm IST

Cannabis Kills Skin Cancer Cells, Finds Study

By Cynthia Saarie, BCNA admin

A recent in-vitro study reveals promising outcomes as a cannabis extract demonstrates effectiveness in decelerating the growth of melanoma cells.

A groundbreaking cannabis extract, PHEC-66, has demonstrated significant potential for eradicating the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. Developed by Australia’s MGC Pharmaceuticals, early-stage trials in October 2023 revealed that PHEC-66 effectively halted the growth of isolated melanoma cells in laboratory settings.

While preliminary, if these promising results can be replicated in live animal models and eventually in human trials, it could open up new avenues for treating melanoma, a challenging disease to address. The concentrated cannabis oil presents a potential breakthrough in the quest for more effective treatments against this formidable type of skin cancer.

In a collaborative effort between Charles Darwin University (CDU) and RMIT, researchers unveiled this breakthrough in melanoma treatment. As part of Dr. Ava Bachari’s RMIT PhD project, the study identified that the extract targets receptor sites on specific melanoma cells, regulating cell growth at critical phases and intensifying cellular damage. Dr. Nazim Nassar, a CDU pharmaceutical lecturer and co-author, explained that this heightened damage prompts a self-destructive response in the cells, offering a potential advancement in melanoma treatment strategies.

“The damage to the melanoma cell prevents it from dividing into new cells, and instead begins a programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis,” Dr. Nassar said.

“This is a growing area of important research because we need to understand cannabis extracts as much as possible, especially their potential to function as anticancer agents.

“If we know how they react to cancer cells, particularly in the cause of cell death, we can refine treatment techniques to be more specific, responsive, and effective.”

Dr. Nassar said the next challenge was developing targeted delivery systems for the melanoma cells to get them ready for pre-clinical trials.

“Advanced delivery systems still need to be fully developed, underscoring the importance of ongoing efforts to ensure the proper and effective use of these agents at target sites,” he said.

Dr. Nassar specializes in cancer cell biology, pharmacology, drug delivery systems, and drug disposition and dynamics.

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