Written by ι Stock Market Media Staff — March 14, 2013
In the U.S., there has always been a raised eyebrow in the room when it comes to using marijuana for medicinal purposes, but it’s slowly eroding with more and more states passing legislation in favor of the use of marijuana for health reasons.
Make no mistake about it, medical marijuana is big business and prescription cannabis is now available in 18 states, the nation’s capital, and eleven more states are considering legalizing the drug medically as well. The numbers are staggering – in this country, we’re talking about a $1.7-billion medical marijuana market and growing rapidly.
Marijuana’s reputation is well documented and the once raised eyebrow at the mere mention of passing laws allowing its use is now starting to lower a bit as positive press defines the amazing benefits that can be realized from the drug. It will be the research and studies done by biotechnology companies like Nuvilex Inc. (OTCQB: NVLX) subsidiary, Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc. and Cannabis Science, Inc. (OTCQB: CBIS) that helps change the image of marijuana from solely a drug to a medicine.
When serious diseases like brain, pancreatic, and other forms of cancer strike, patients aren’t too concerned where a cure comes from, so Nuvilex, Cannabis Science and other biotechs are hard at work discovering the medical advantages of marijuana.
The use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes dates back more than 3,000 years, and Cannabis was introduced into Western medicine in the 1840s. Its use was promoted because of its reported analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and antispasmodic effects. The components of marijuana that have shown medical activity are broadly known as “cannabinoids” – approximately 70 cannabinoids have been found in Cannabis sativa.
Many of the companies in the medical marijuana industry are focused on growing and distributing marijuana or producing a number of products that contain marijuana in one form or another.
Nuvilex, however, established a subsidiary to study the medical applications of marijuana and will use its expertise, current research and its success in the biotechnology sector in an effort to make Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc. among the leaders in the industry. In this role, the company will initially utilize cannabidiol, one of the compounds found in Cannabis, as the basis for developing treatments for some of the deadliest forms of cancer that have historically shown they’re extremely difficult to treat. Medical Marijuana Sciences will initially focus on pancreatic cancer and cancers of the brain – specifically glioblastomas.
Nuvilex’s COO, Dr. Gerald Crabtree said of the advantages the new subsidiary has in the industry…
“Nuvilex’s “in-house” experience in drug development, particularly in the cancer area, coupled with the knowledge gleaned during the development of our pancreatic cancer treatment, serves as a strong foundation upon which Medical Marijuana Sciences can build treatments, using constituents of Cannabis, for deadly forms of cancer.
By pursuing “hard targets” like cancers of the pancreas and brain, Medical Marijuana Sciences can position itself among the leading entities involved in the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.”
Nuvilex is already heavily invested in developing a pancreatic cancer treatment using its living cell encapsulation technology. The company has gone through two independent Phase II clinical studies in patients with advanced, non-surgically-removable (inoperable), pancreatic cancer, using living cells encapsulated with its unique technology that are capable of converting the widely-used anti-cancer drug, ifosfamide, into its “cancer-killing” form.
The results from a second independent clinical trial with the cell encapsulation-ifosfamide combination confirmed the results found in the first Phase II trial. Both trials offer sets of data that were done at different times, with different populations, and in different hospitals. In the first trial, one location was used; however the second Phase II trial expanded its database by using 4 different hospitals.
Twenty-seven (27) patients were included in the trials and a substantial response was seen in that the use of the living cell encapsulation-ifosfamide combination helped patients to a better outcome than that previously reported with standard single-drug (Gemzar) therapy; Gemzar is still the only drug approved by the FDA as a single agent for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Results from these trials included:
• Median Survival Time and One-Year Survival Rate were almost doubled as compared to historical data for Gemzar.
• The severity of ifosfamide’s side effects was reduced because only one-third of its usual dose was used.
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• No damage to tissues surrounding capsules was seen.
• Cells within the capsules were protected from attack by the patients’ immune systems.
• Cells inside the capsules were alive and functioning – even after more than two years.
Another positive found in the two trial’s results is that patients didn’t see any serious side effects in the studies.
As Nuvilex prepares to enter a large-scale, late-stage trial with its living cell encapsulation- ifosfamide combination, Dr. Crabtree said that the obvious question to ask with the work to be done at Medical Marijuana Sciences is “Would the addition of a cannabinoid such as cannabidiol to the company’s treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer already being studied result in an even greater length of survival than that reported for our cell encapsulation-ifosfamide combination pancreatic cancer treatment alone? At least, it may be possible to treat the pain and cachexia, or ‘wasting’ syndrome, often associated with advanced cancers through the use of cannabinoids.”
And, with the results found in the first two studies at Nuvilex being extremely impressive, if the subsidiary can find in its work that it’s able to extend the length of survival beyond those results, then cancer patients can continue to find hope – and the face of medical marijuana can be changed for the better forever.
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