Written by ι Stock Market Media Group — February 12, 2014
Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB: NVLX) is a biotechnology company that’s focused on getting into late phase clinical trials for the treatment of advanced, inoperable pancreatic cancer, but it also expects to be a major player in the medical marijuana arena. And, to that end, last December, Nuvilex landed a leading figure in the medical marijuana field in Dr. Mark L. Rabe. Dr. Rabe was appointed as the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Medical Marijuana Sciences (MMS), the wholly-owned subsidiary Nuvilex formed to house its work in the Cannabis industry.
Stock Market Media Group (SMMG), a full service research and content development investor relations firm, posed 5 questions to Dr. Rabe and found his answers to be good news for Nuvilex’s future in medical marijuana.
SMMG: What attracted you to work with the team at Nuvilex/MMS?
Dr. Rabe: “The things that attracted me most about the team at Nuvilex/MMS were their experience, passion, and professionalism. And these characteristics continue to impress me about them. The Nuvilex Board and management team members have decades of experience in their respective areas, including science, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, law, management, venture capital, humanitarianism, and business development.
Another attraction was the science. The live cell encapsulation platform employed by Nuvilex is a unique patented technology on which treatments can be developed for deadly and debilitating diseases such as cancer and diabetes. The technology has shown to be successful in the treatment of pancreatic cancer in initial clinical trials using the conventional chemotherapy drug ifosphamide. The technology also has a number of potential applications which take advantage of the medicinal properties of the Cannabis plant. I believe that this is a winning combination.
On a personal level, working with Nuvilex and MMS provides an opportunity to be part of the development of revolutionary therapies that have the potential to transform how medical conditions are treated and have a significant impact on the lives of many patients.”
SMMG: What is your vision for the company’s work with Cannabis?
Dr. Rabe: “It is very exciting to think of implanting a small bio-inert, pin-head-sized cocoon of cells, a “Cell-in-a-Box™”, which can be engineered to act as a sustainable factory capable of producing a steady stream of therapeutic substances; for example, activating enzymes or therapeutic end-products.
For me personally, it is even more exciting to think of combining the Cell-in-a-Box technology with the power of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, which are the key medicinal components of the Cannabis plant, have been shown in many scientific studies to have potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancerous properties, in addition to many other medicinal properties.
The vision of MMS is to take advantage of how the components of Cannabis work biochemically and combine this knowledge with the highly versatile platform that cell encapsulation provides in order to develop safe, effective, and sustainable therapies. Areas of study will initially focus on pancreatic and brain cancers, both of which currently have very few good treatment options available. Attention will then turn to other forms of cancer such as breast and prostate cancers as well as diabetes.”
SMMG: After learning more about Cell-in-a-Box, do you think it can be effective with Cannabis research and treatments?
Dr. Rabe: “Cannabinoid molecules, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its non-psychoactive sister molecule cannabidiol (CBD), have been shown to have anti-cancerous activity against a variety of cancers, including pancreatic, brain, breast, prostate, and others.
The incidence of diabetes is on the rise, and a recent study published by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Nebraska’s College of Medicine showed that current cannabis use was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and lower levels of insulin resistance.
The Cell-in-a-Box technology offers an ideal platform on which to develop truly “green” approaches to treating deadly and debilitating diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, which affect hundreds of thousands of individuals each year.”
SMMG: What is your opinion of the changing debate in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana?
Dr. Rabe: “On a human level, patients who are affected by serious and life-threatening diseases on a daily basis realize that they cannot wait for Washington DC to correct policies that are based on lack of scientific foundation. Beginning with California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, states one-by-one have enacted legislation allowing for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Two states have now legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes. States are increasingly considering medical cannabis legislation and legalization for recreational purposes. So the trend in the debate does seem to be moving toward legalization.
From a medical perspective, however, the most important component of legalization is that the Cannabis plant and its medicinal cannabinoid components need to be removed from the federal “Schedule 1” category. Because of this designation, doctors currently cannot legally treat patients with cannabinoids. Rather, they can only “recommend” the use of medical marijuana, which leaves patients on their own to obtain their own medicine and treat themselves. Also, removal of the Schedule 1 designation would also allow for properly designed placebo-controlled double blind studies to occur in order to advance the use of cannabinoids as medicine.”
SMMG: How do you feel your experiences in the marijuana industry can enhance Nuvilex’s work in marijuana research?
Dr. Rabe: “Whether serendipity or karma, all of my past experiences are proving to be beneficial to me in fulfilling my role as Chairman of MMS Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and its quest to develop “green” approaches to treating cancer and other diseases.
My undergraduate training was in biochemistry, and I performed research to synthesize a modified version of an existing chemotherapeutic agent with the goal of improving effectiveness and decreasing side effects. After over 20 years’ experience as a wellness-based primary care practitioner and founder of two successful healthcare businesses, I spent three years as Medical Director of an eLearning company that created online educational programs for doctors and scientists at biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies on such topics as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. In this role I had a firsthand look into how these companies spend billions of dollars to develop a single pharmaceutical drug and then are eager to regain their investment.
For the past six years, I have been involved in the integration of Cannabis into medical treatment. As former Chief Medical Officer of California’s largest network of doctor-owned alternative medicine clinics, I supervised the issuance of over 100,000 medical cannabis recommendations to patients, many of whom attributed medical cannabis with literally saving their lives. In this position one of my roles was educating the public, which included a series of educational symposia across the state featuring presentations by leading researchers, doctors, lawyers, educators, dispensary owners, growers, law enforcement officials, and patients.
In my current San Diego-based integrative holistic medical practice, Centric Wellness, I help patients integrate natural health and wellness strategies to achieve optimal health and manage chronic conditions. Every day, I see how medical cannabis helps to improve patients’ lives by offering more effective results than pharmaceutical medications with far fewer side effects. My experiences with the medical cannabis industry have provided me with a unique perspective, and I have met a broad range of individuals who take the science of Cannabis very seriously.
In my role as Chairman of the SAB, I am drawing on my past experience and contacts to assemble a world-class team of individuals who have backgrounds in the areas vital to moving the company’s products forward from concept to reality. The SAB’s members and advisors include individuals who are experts in areas such as drug development and design, biochemistry, enzymology, applied physics, cell encapsulation, cannabinoid research, clinical trials, and product commercialization. I also bring to the Board my direct clinical experience with patients, thousands of them, who have directly shared with me the details of how the Cannabis plant has had a positive – sometimes lifesaving – impact on their lives.
With this diverse and broad-based team, the SAB plans to provide MMS with advice and guidance as it seeks to develop novel, sustainable, and uniquely safe treatments for serious and deadly diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and others.”