The University of Canberra has signed a $1 million (Australian dollars) collaboration with Cann Pharmaceutical — a joint venture between better Medical Grade Cannabis of Israel and Australia’s Curus Medical — to create a new medical-grade cannabis therapy for people with melanoma, and to evaluate the treatment in a clinical trial.
The two-year project’s main objective is to develop a combination cannabis therapy that, when combined with standard care, could treat some of almost 50,000 Australians who are living with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
Research will be led by Sudha Rao, a University of Canberra professor of molecular and cellular biology, and the partners hope to begin clinical testing in 2017.
“Australians have the highest rate of melanoma in the world, with estimates of more than 13,000 new cases to be diagnosed in 2016 alone,” Rao said in a university release. “When you consider that melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australia and New Zealand, and almost 1,800 people will die as a result of this cancer this year, we need to work harder at finding effective treatments.”
Strains of cannabis developed by Cann Pharmaceutical will be the central focus of the research.
Professor Rao’s team at the University’s Health Research Institute are also conducting research into preventing the recurrence of breast and other cancers, and on developing treatments to switch off cancer stem cells.
Professor Frances Shannon, the acting vice chancellor, said the university is pleased to be participating in the research project and the collaboration agreement. “We are also incredibly excited to take a leading research role into the application of medicinal cannabis for Australian patients. The support of Cann Pharmaceutical Australia, providing access to their medical-grade cannabis strains and funding worth $1 million is critical to taking this work from laboratory testing to clinical trials,” she said.
Cann Pharmaceutical is engaged in clinical research, and the cultivation, processing, and extraction of medical grade cannabis (MGC). better, one of the first and largest MGC producers licensed by governments in Israel and the Czech Republic, is experienced in growing high yields of high-quality organic, chemical-free MGC. It produces over 3,000 kg of per year for medical use.
Curus Medical, a Cann partner, is one of only a few companies in Australia with direct experience in therapeutic cannabis research and, with its partners, in studying potential therapeutic use, supply, and delivery of MGC-based systems. Curus Medical expects that MCG will have a crucial role in treating patients who fail to respond to conventional treatments, especially those with epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, and certain pain conditions.
The University of Canberra
Cann Pharmaceutical Ltd.
better Medical Grade Cannabis
Curus Medical Pty Ltd.