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Nuvilex, Inc. Can Benefit from Passage of This Week’s Medical Marijuana Bill

Nuvilex, Inc. Can Benefit from Passage of This Week’s Medical Marijuana Bill

Written by ι Stock Market Media Group Staff — April 10, 2013

Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB: NVLX) and its subsidiary Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc. received some good news this week as Maryland lawmakers passed a bill allowing medical marijuana programs at research centers.  The Silver Spring, Maryland, biotechnology firm can take full advantage of the new measure as soon as Maryland Governor, Martin O’Malley, signs the bill which he has indicated he is likely to do.

This news clears the way for Nuvilex to get working more expeditiously on its research at Medical Marijuana Sciences.  Prior to this measure, company officials had a long road of planning ahead of them to set up the facilities capable of doing the type of research the subsidiary has planned and remain free from prosecution.  This measure will remove a large hurdle.

There is a real snowball effect going on in the country right now, and opinions continue to swing more and more toward legalizing the drug.  In a Pew Research Center poll late last week, 52% of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana.  This is the first time a majority of Americans have favored marijuana’s legalization in this poll, and according to Pew, the question has been asked in polls since 1969.  Estimates are that the marijuana industry will see revenues exceeding $3-billion by 2015 and double that by 2018.  The marijuana snowball is rolling and rolling fast!

In November, voters in both Washington and Colorado made the use of marijuana legal, and now 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes or have legalized it altogether in the cases of Washington and Colorado.  Nuvilex COO, Dr. Gerald Crabtree said Maryland’s bill passing is good news for the company’s future:

“As more and more states legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, it facilitates more and more our planned pursuit of treatments for serious and deadly diseases, like pancreatic and brain cancers that use components of cannabis.  The fact that Maryland has recently passed a bill that will permit research in the medical marijuana area is important to Nuvilex, in part, because the company’s head offices are located in the state.  This, in turn, should help us because we should be able to develop collaborations for our research efforts that are ‘close to home’ so to speak, and in this way, R&D expenditures for our medical marijuana endeavors can be optimized.”

The Maryland legislature passed the bill overwhelmingly with a vote of 42 to 4, joining the growing list of states that are now taking a more favorable approach to medical marijuana.  Attitudes are clearly changing in the U.S. over the long-time controversial subject, and for cancer patients this is great news.

Nuvilex established its subsidiary Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc. 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 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.

Dr. Crabtree said Nuvilex’s subsidiary has a number of advantages 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.”

Maryland Sen. David Brinkley, a Frederick County Republican, who recognizes the changing shift in the country said, “I think more and more as states start pushing the envelope on this thing, the federal government has to recognize that some of these cancer patients, some of these people that are very sick, you know, they’re not doing this because they want to.  They do feel that it’s perhaps an element of last resort, and the last thing we want to do is criminalize who they are, why they’re sick, that they’re sick or their caregivers.”

Nuvilex executives are likely hoping the research gleaned from Medical Marijuana Sciences can enhance its current work with pancreatic cancer.  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.

As Nuvilex prepares to enter a large-scale, late-stage trial with its living cell encapsulation- ifosfamide combination, Dr. Crabtree said the medical marijuana research invites some obvious questions with regard to the company’s pancreatic cancer trials.

 “Would the addition of a cannabinoid-based treatment 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.”

In results from a second independent clinical trial with the cell encapsulation-ifosfamide combination, Nuvilex 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 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.

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.

In a statement released by the Drug Policy Alliance after Maryland lawmakers passed the bill, Amanda Reiman said, “Maryland has taken a small step in the right direction, but more steps are necessary for patients to actually obtain the medicine they need to alleviate their suffering.”

It may be considered a small step for Maryland in the eyes of the Drug Policy Alliance, but this is a huge step for Nuvilex and those suffering from pancreatic and brain cancers.  If the company’s success with research in medical marijuana resembles in any way the work Nuvilex is doing in its pancreatic cancer trials and its preclinical studies with diabetes using the cell encapsulation technology, then investors should expect to see some promising news coming from Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc.