Cannabis Extract Shows Promise in Melanoma Treatment

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Skin cancer, particularly melanoma, poses a significant health challenge globally. However, recent research has shed light on a potential breakthrough in treatment using a cannabis extract.

A study conducted by researchers from Charles Darwin University (CDU) and RMIT has shown promising results in slowing down melanoma cell growth (what the researchers call a ‘kill order’) and increasing cell death rates using a specific cannabis extract known as cannabinoid PHEC-66.

This groundbreaking study, part of a PhD project by RMIT’s Dr. Ava Bachari, investigated the mechanism of programmed cell death caused by PHEC-66 in melanoma cells. The results, as described by the authors, highlighted the “remarkable anticancer effects of PHEC-66” on melanoma cells. However, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanism behind this action.

One of the key findings of the study was that the extract binds to receptor sites on specific melanoma cells, controlling their growth at crucial phases and increasing damage to the cells. This damage prompts the melanoma cells to undergo programmed cell death, also known as apoptosis. Dr. Nazim Nassar, a pharmaceutical lecturer at CDU and co-author of the study, explains that this process prevents the melanoma cells from dividing into new cells, ultimately leading to their demise.

The study’s findings suggest that PHEC-66 may have potential as an adjuvant therapy in the treatment of malignant melanoma. However, the researchers emphasize the need for further preclinical investigations to explore its full potential and efficacy.

Dr. Nassar highlighted the importance of developing targeted delivery systems to deliver PHEC-66 to melanoma cells effectively. He emphasized that ongoing efforts are essential to ensure the proper and effective use of these agents at target sites. This research represents a significant step forward in the field of cancer treatment, potentially revolutionizing how we approach melanoma and other cancers.

Despite the stigma surrounding the use of cannabis extracts, future research into its application could revolutionize cancer treatment. Dr. Nassar noted that clinical uses of cannabis extracts already include treatment for anxiety, cancer-related symptoms, epilepsy, and chronic pain. Intensive research into its potential for killing melanoma cells is just the beginning, as researchers investigate how this knowledge can be applied to treating different types of cancers.

Lead author Professor Nitin Mantri, an RMIT biotechnologist, emphasized the need for long-term follow-up to ensure the sustained effectiveness and safety of the PHEC-66 extract in cancer treatment over extended periods. He also stressed the importance of testing the safety profile of the extract before its widespread adoption.

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