Scientists at Curtin and Queen Mary University of London tested the impact the naturally occurring cannabinoid "Cannabidiol" had on the use of Gemcitabine as a treatment for pancreatic cancer in mice.
Only seven per cent of all patients survive for five years after their initial diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that arrives when cells in the pancreas - a glandular organ behind the stomach - starts to lose control and form a mass.
Strikingly, mice with pancreatic cancer that were treated with cannabidiol alongside chemotherapy, survived nearly three times longer than those treated with chemotherapy alone, our study reports. In 2015, pancreatic cancers were responsible for 411,600 deaths, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates doctors will diagnose 55,440 new cases of the disease before the end of 2018.
Leanne Reynolds, Head of Research at PCUK said: 'For people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer there are very limited treatment options due to the complex nature of the disease. Using top-tier cannabis for extraction, recognizing that the quality of distillate, oils, and syrups is integral to the overall taste of products.
Professor Marco Falasca from Queen Mary University of London and lead researcher called the results "remarkable".
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A cannabis drug may help to extend the lives of pancreatic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, new research suggests.
"Cannabidiol is already approved for use in clinics, which means we can quickly go on to test this in human clinical trials".
At present, 9,800 people in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the illness has one of the lowest survival rates - about 5 per cent of those with the condition survive for five years, and around 80 per cent die within a year of diagnosis.
The researchers said it is also known to improve the side effects of chemotherapy including nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Response: Future drug development efforts could focus on using different cannabis extracts in combination to other chemotherapies to see if we can obtain an even better efficacy.
Disclosures: This project was made possible by an Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation grant and a Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund grant.