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mr peabody

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Jennifer Huse beats cancer diagnosis with Rick Simpson Oil*

by Cory Hughes

In 2016, Jennifer Huse was diagnosed with endometrial hyperplasia, a thickening of the uterine lining that, in many cases, leads to cancer.

Jennifer had been seeing early symptoms as far back as 2009, however, a proper diagnosis didn’t materialize until 2015. In the years leading up to her diagnosis, doctors had been recommending a complete hysterectomy.

By the time the diagnosis came in, doctors had detected the presence of advanced pre-cancerous cells. The only treatment recommended to her was hysterectomy, to prevent any possibility of cancer.

Finding this unacceptable, Jennifer made the decision to pack up and head to Colorado to give cannabis treatments a chance. The experience took Jennifer from being debilitated and hospitalized to feeling the best she has in years.

“Cannabis took me from knowing I was dying to feeling the best I have ever felt physically. I went from sickness to health in three months,” she says.

Jennifer is an active woman. She works with an organization known as The Venus Project, a group that advocates for a resource-based economy. She is constantly traveling back and forth between her home in New Jersey and The Venus Project headquarters in Florida.

Add to that trips to Denver for treatments and it’s amazing she had any energy left at all. When Jennifer first started showing symptoms, like a menstruation period that lasted for four months, she and her doctors were puzzled. Doctor after doctor tried to determine the problem, but none could. This went on for years with doctors pushing for a hysterectomy.

Jennifer made the decision to skip surgery and try cannabis. But before heading west, she wanted to reach out to women who were in similar circumstances, and she hoped she could pass on what she had learned to save other women from unnecessary procedures.

She got involved with Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS), a group that specializes in offering health and education services to women in hopes of providing alternatives to invasive surgeries, particularly hysterectomies. Besides working with HERS, Jennifer released a heartfelt video online in which she tells her story, hoping women around the world will learn from her experience.

“Having to leave my kids, my businesses, and pay the expense of living in another state just to get non-toxic treatment was not only emotionally and physically draining but made me fully aware what little freedom we actually have,” she says.

When Jennifer arrived in Colorado in June 2016, she had just been married. At her wedding, she was worried that she was too sick to make it through the reception. When she advised her cannabis medical professional of her diagnosis and voiced her concern that the pre-cancerous cells could advance, the doctor knew just what to prescribe.

Jennifer started a regimen of the world-famous Rick Simpson oil (RSO). According to Simpson, his whole-plant cannabis oil has cured more than 5,000 people of cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. She was recommended to a dispensary that specializes in whole-plant cannabis oil treatments. The recommendation was 60 milligrams of RSO per day for 60 days.

Less than a month later, Jennifer’s head was clear, like a fog had lifted. She felt better daily, constantly seeing improvement in her appetite and ability to get around. She went back in for evaluation and after 90 days, it was found that there was no unhealthy tissue present and that the advanced pre-cancerous cells were gone.

Cannabis helped Jennifer get back on her feet and avoid the traditional surgical route that doctors are so quick to suggest. Jennifer spent years trying to find out what was going on with her body at tremendous cost, both physical and financial. Three months earlier she was barely able to get out of bed. Now, she was on top of the world.

Jennifer believes that to deny people medical cannabis treatments is to sentence them to a life of sickness and possibly even death. She wants to demonstrate there are more than pharmaceutical options available.

Jennifer is back to work with The Venus Project and still bouncing around the country helping to create a better future for all of us. She plans to continue her cannabis treatments when she returns to Colorado.

“My advice to anyone considering treatment would be if at all possible to try cannabis, especially before any non-reversible or highly toxic measures are taken,” she says.

*From the article here:

 

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Home urine test could revolutionize prostate cancer diagnosis

by Tim Newman | MedicalNewsToday | Dec 5 2019

A new pilot study concludes that at-home urine tests could make prostate cancer diagnoses shorter, simpler, and possibly even more accurate.

Prostate cancer is common, affecting nearly half of males over 50. However, it tends to develop slowly, and in many cases, health professionals do not consider it clinically significant. In other words, it is not likely to shorten the male's life.

This poses a real problem for medical professionals, as it becomes difficult to know who to treat and when. On the one hand, it is important not to begin treatment if someone does not need it, but on the other hand, they must make sure that someone who is likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer receives the best care.

Currently, the two most common diagnostic tools are digital rectal exams and blood tests for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Although PSA is useful, there are issues. The National Cancer Institute provide an example:

"Only about 25% of men who have a prostate biopsy due to an elevated PSA level actually are found to have prostate cancer when a biopsy is done."

For this reason and others, researchers are investigating other ways of testing for prostate cancer, and some are looking to urine.

Prostate urine risk tests

As fluid moves from the prostate through the urethra, it carries cancer cells and RNA with it. Once the body has passed this genetic and cellular information out in the urine, scientists can use it to detect clues about the presence of prostate cancer.

These tests are called prostate urine risk (PUR) tests, and studies have demonstrated that they can help predict whether or not prostate cancer will become aggressive.

In earlier studies of PUR tests, before researchers collected a urine sample, they conducted a digital rectal exam. As the authors of the new study explain, during the exam, a doctor will "firmly stroke" one side of the prostate. This encourages cellular and genetic material to move from the prostate to the urine sample.

Digital rectal exams are unpopular and require a trip to the doctor's office. Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom wanted to determine whether or not it would be possible to skip this procedure while still yielding accurate PUR results.

Their recent study investigated an at-home version of the PUR test. At-home testing allows participants to take a urine sample at home and mail it to the laboratory. This is ideal, because it means that the person can capture the first urination of the day.

As lead researcher Dr. Jeremy Clark explains, "Because the prostate is constantly secreting, the collection of urine from men's first urination of the day means that the biomarker levels from the prostate are much higher and more consistent."

A simpler methodology

To investigate whether or not this home-based approach might be viable, the scientists recruited 14 participants. Each used an at-home urine sampling kit to collect the first urination of the day. They also provided a sample 1 hour after their first urination and another after a digital rectal examination in the clinic (on a different day). This allowed the scientists to compare the results.

They have recently published their findings in the journal BioTechniques.

"We found that the urine samples taken at home showed the biomarkers for prostate cancer much more clearly than after a rectal examination," explains Dr. Clark, "And feedback from the participants showed that the at-home test was preferable."

The study authors now believe that the at-home PUR test could make a substantial difference in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Dr. Clark explains that, in the future, it could "revolutionize how those on 'active surveillance' are monitored for disease progression."

Currently, these males must visit a clinic once every 6–12 months, where they undergo painful biopsies. This new method would mean that they only need to mail a urine sample to the laboratory.

"It means that men would not have to undergo a digital rectal examination, so it would be much less stressful and should result in a lot more patients being tested." - Dr. Jeremy Clark

The University of East Anglia researchers designed this new study to test the efficacy of at-home urine collection. Now they know that this methodology works, they plan to use it more widely to investigate aggressive prostate cancer in the near future.

The study authors believe "this protocol might also be useful when screening for other urinary cancers, such as bladder and kidney." Because the process is simple and cost effective, it will speed up clinical trials studying prostate cancer and make it easier to recruit a greater numbers of participants.

 
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Rare Jamaican cannabis strain could treat pancreatic cancer*

Health Europa | 14 Jan 2020

Trials of the cannabis flavonoid, Caflanone (FBL-03G), for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, look set to go ahead this spring.

Flavocure, a drug discovery and development company, was granted Orphan drug status to its lead drug candidate, the cannabis flavonoid Caflanone (FBL-03G), by the FDA, following the successful demonstration of its therapeutic efficacy in tumour progression in animals with pancreatic cancer.

The company is now on track to begin clinical trials for treating pancreatic cancer with Caflanone in the spring. The research has received strong endorsements from Harvard University, the Pancreatic Cancer Network and others.

Medical Cannabis Network spoke to Co-Founder & Executive Vice Chairman, Clark Swanson, about Caflanone and the upcoming pancreatic cancer trials.

Caflanone (FBL-03G) research

Flavocure’s research into Caflanone is progressing at a rapid pace and will be entering Phase 1/2 of clinical trials later this year.

Swanson said: “We are very excited about this stage of the company’s growth and pioneering new immunotherapies. During the third quarter of this year, we received an Orphan Drug designation for FBL-03G from the FDA. This provides us with many distinct advantages.”

Research continues at Harvard Medical School, an institution credited with development and collaboration of some of the world’s most successful drugs. Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies are essentially complete now, and we are confident in the results and the much-anticipated clinical stage of our company’s drug development.”

Black Swan: a rare Jamaican cannabis strain

Flavonoids are found in all types of plants and all strains of cannabis contain flavonoids, which account for their variety of taste and colour, depending on which flavonoids they contain. Currently, around 6000 flavonoids have been found throughout nature.

Caflanone, or FBL-03G, has been derived from an endemic strain of cannabis sativa found in Jamaica called Black Swan.

Swanson said: “The company Chairman, Hon. Dr Henry Lowe PhD. has been a pioneer of phytomedicine (medicine from plants) for decades, and a world renown research scientist. He has studied cannabis since 1974 and authored many books on the subject."

“Although some people don’t know where their drugs come from, it may surprise them to learn that many of them come directly from plants. Vincristine, for example, is a plant alkaloid, from periwinkle. It is among the most commonly used cancer drugs today."

“Dr Lowe discovered a rare strain of cannabis endemic to Jamaica. The strain has been labelled as “Black Swan” due to its high flavonoid rich spectrum. Typically, a cannabis plant flavonoid content is far less than 1%, averaging less than 0.14%. As such, Caflanone from cannabis for pharmaceutical purposes has been manufactured by way of a proprietary synthetic schema."

“Although you may frequently read about noteworthy scientists like Dr Mechleoum synthesis of CBD and THC as groundbreaking, Dr Lowe and his team of research scientists have done something equally challenging – produced commercial kilogramme quantities of cannabis derived flavonoids."

“To address the commercial viability of Flavocure, this was a huge step in the process and the schema remains classified. From Black Swan we anticipate the development of other new drugs yet to be discovered by researchers. Flavocure has isolated this strain and our work on the plant derived molecules continues.”


Treating pancreatic cancer with cannabis

In pre-clinical studies, conducted at Harvard Medical School, Caflanone exhibited successful results in difficult to treat animal models of pancreatic cancer.

Flavocure initially developed Cresorol – another flavonoid from the same Black Swan strain of cannabis – for treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), which also received Orphan Designation by the FDA, however, it acts on different mechanisms than Caflanone.

Swanson said: “These two flavonoids have the potential to be very effective when used in combination."

We have preliminary evidence that Flavocure’s drug pipeline can become a new standard of care for patients suffering from pancreatic cancer. The pipeline also holds potential for AML as we have seen results in vivo which exceed the standard of care today by comparison.”

However, our focus today is on the pancreatic cancer trials, enrolling patients suffering from pancreatic cancer.”

The trials for Calanone are expected to begin in Spring 2020, says Swanson, however, recruitment has not yet begun.”


He said: “Recruitment will begin the first quarter of 2020. At this time, we plan to carry out a multisite study. We anticipate east and west coast, USA. No further details are available at this time."

If the research translates into the clinic, Flavocure may be in the unique position to offer patients with a new way to treat cancer. We are optimistic that the trials will be successful, and thus far research has shown that Caflanone (FBL-03G) to be non-toxic. This is a departure from most drugs in clinical trials which typically carry risk for toxicity and side effects.”

*From the article here:

 
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Medical experts say rolling out the vaccine for HPV in the world’s
poorest countries could avert tens of millions of deaths.



Mass cervical cancer vaccine rollout could save millions*

by Josh Taylor | The Guardian | 30 Jan 2020

Studies project rapidly deploying HPV vaccine in 78 of the world’s poorest countries could help prevent more than 74 million cases.

More than 74m cervical cancer cases and 62m deaths could be averted in the next 100 years if 78 of the world’s poorest countries rapidly deploy HPV vaccinations, cervical screening and cancer treatment, two new studies have projected.

The predictive modelling is published on Friday in Lancet by Université Laval, Harvard University and Cancer Council New South Wales working with the World Health Organisation. All three teams independently developed their models based on the biological understanding of cervical cancer, and multiple data sources from multiple countries located in east Asia and Pacific, Europe and central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

One of the exciting things for us about the new studies is the three teams did independent work but got very similar results,” director of research at Cancer Council NSW and adjunct professor Karen Canfell said.

While there has been some success in high-income countries like Australia, cervical cancer is still the fourth-most common cancer for women in the world, and the leading cause of cancer death in some low-income countries.

A large majority of the 570,000 new cervical cancer cases worldwide in 2018 were in women living in low- and lower-middle income countries.

The combination of vaccination of girls, along with twice-lifetime cervical cancer screening and access to invasive cervical cancer treatment was predicted to reduce cervical cancer incidence by 97% and mortality by almost 99%, averting more than 74 million cervical cancer cases and more than 62 million deaths in the next 100 years,” she said.

To reach this goal in the 78 low- and lower-middle income countries, the countries will need to get to 90% of girls vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV), 70% twice-lifetime cervical screenings with HPV testing, and 90% coverage for treatment of pre-invasive lesions and invasive cancer by 2030.

The idea is countries will use this to understand the impact of decisions that are made for investing in health today,” Canfell said.

The research will be considered by WHO’s executive board next week, and by countries at the World Health Assembly in May.

Australia has led the charge in preventing and treating cervical cancer, and last year Canfell said Australia was on track to eliminating cervical cancer by 2035, and this week, Public Health England also released a study showing that as of the end of 2018 – 10 years since the vaccination program was introduced – there were no HPV infections detected in 16 to 18-year-old females.

Canfell said every country would have its own challenges in implementing vaccinations, screenings and treatments.

All three of those interventions are proven, and they’re very effective in high-income countries, but they all have challenges in terms of logistics and implementation,” she said.

One of the biggest challenges is all three things will have to be country-level considerations of how to do it within the health systems that exist, or building health systems to implement these interventions. There will certainly be differences in the way things are implemented.”

*From the article here:

 
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Infections account for 13% of all cancer cases*

by Roxanne Nelson, RN, BSN | Medscape | Jan 21 2020

An estimated 13% of all cancer cases in 2018 may be attributable to infections, concludes a new global survey. This equates to about 2.2 million cancer cases diagnosed worldwide.

The primary causes were Helicobacter pylori, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Of note, a third of global cancer cases attributable to infection are in China, which accounted for 42% of cancers caused by H pylori and for 69% of those caused by HBV.

"The present work estimates for the first time incidence rates of infection-attributable cancer in 2018 at an individual country level," write the authors, led by Catherine de Martel, MD, of the Infections and Cancer Epidemiology Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, France.

"Our study can help to raise awareness and inform recommendations for action against cancer, which tends to be viewed as a non-communicable disease," they add.

A causal association between certain infections and human malignancies is already well established, the authors comment. Previous research by de Martel and her group found that H pylori, HBV, HCV, and HPV were responsible for 2 million of 12.7 million cancer cases. Most of these were gastric, hepatic, and cervix uteri cancers.

For the current analysis, the authors used the GLOBOCAN 2018 database of cancer incidence and mortality rates. They estimated the attributable percentages and global incidence for specific cancers that have already been associated with infectious pathogens. The absolute numbers and ASIR were calculated at the country level and were stratified by sex, age group, and country.

Their results showed that H pylori was responsible for 810,000 new cancer cases in 2018, primarily underlying noncardia gastric adenocarcinoma. This was followed by HPV, responsible for 690,000 new cases, primarily causing cervix uteri carcinoma.

HBV contributed to 360,000 new cases, and HCV was responsible for 160,000 new cases, both primarily causing hepatocellular carcinoma.

Other infectious agents - Epstein-Barr virus, human T-cell lymphotropic virus, human herpesvirus, and parasitic infections - contributed to the remaining 210,000 new cases.

Variation by sex and income

Overall, men and women were equally affected by cancers caused by infections, but the types of pathogens and cancers varied by sex.

There was also considerable variation by geographic region. Eastern Asia had the highest rates of infection, followed closely by sub-Saharan Africa. Conversely, the lowest number of cases was in northern Europe and western Asia.

China accounted for 35% of the new infection-attributable cases in 2018. Of those, 340,000 were linked to H pylori, and 250,000 to HBV. South Korea also had a very high incidence of cancer caused by H pylori infection, as did Japan. There was also a high incidence of cancer cases related to HBV in South Korea.

Cervix uteri carcinoma accounts for approximately 80% of cancers that could be attributed to HPV. Women were the most affected by HPV, accounting for 90% of the 690,000 attributed cases globally. These proportions were highest in the lowest-income countries.

In contrast, the proportions of the other types of HPV-related anogenital cancers, along with head and neck cancers, were higher in high-income countries, with a greater proportion seen in men.

"It should be emphasized that the data we present here are a snapshot of the burden of cancer attributable to infections worldwide in 2018, and comparisons with previous results are not possible because of changes in data sources, notably for cancer incidence estimates, as well as other methodological modifications," the authors wrote.

*From the article here: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticl..._wir&uac=341393BJ&spon=17&impID=2255226&faf=1

-----

Increased rate of infections may indicate a future cancer diagnosis

by American Association for Cancer Research | Medical Xpress | 17 April 2020

Patients experienced a greater occurrence of infections in the years preceding a cancer diagnosis, according to results from a study published in Cancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"Cancer can develop in an inflammatory environment caused by infections, immunity disruption, exposure to chemical carcinogens, or chronic or genetic conditions,"
said Shinako Inaida, PhD, a visiting researcher at the Graduate School of Medicine at Kyoto University in Japan. "An individual's immunity is thought to be a factor in the development of cancer, but additional research is needed to understand the relationship among precancerous immunity, infections, and cancer development," added Inaida. "This information may contribute to efforts to prevent or detect cancer."

Studies have suggested an increase in infections prior to the development of non-solid tumors, such as lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and myeloma, explained Inaida. However, fewer studies have examined infection prior to the development of solid tumors.

In this retrospective case-control study, Inaida, along with Shigeo Matsuno, PhD, examined a medical claims database in Japan to determine the annual rate of infections in adults from 2005 to 2012. Individuals 30 years of age and older without any recorded immunodeficiencies were included in the study. The case group was composed of 2,354 individuals who were diagnosed with any malignant cancer between July 2010 and June 2011, and the control group was composed of 48,000 individuals who were not diagnosed with cancer between January 2005 and December 2012. The annual prevalence rates for influenza, gastroenteritis, hepatitis, and pneumonia infections were calculated for each group.

The case group included 1,843 men and 511 women; the control group had 38,000 men and 11,000 women. The average age of individuals in the case group was 45 years, while the average age of those in the control group was 44 years. The most common cancers diagnosed in the case group were digestive and gastrointestinal, head and neck, and stomach cancers. Other cancer types diagnosed in the case group fell into the following categories: respiratory and thoracic; germ cell; genitourinary; liver; female breast; hematologic, blood, bone, and bone marrow; endocrine; and unknown or other cancers.

The authors found that individuals in the case group had experienced higher rates of infection over the six years prior to their cancer diagnoses than those in the control group over the same time period. The largest differences in annual infection prevalence rates occurred in the sixth year, which was one year prior to cancer diagnosis. During this year, the infection prevalence rates for the case group were higher than the control group by 18 percent for influenza, 46 percent for gastroenteritis, 232 percent for hepatitis, and 136 percent for pneumonia.

For individuals in the case group, the age-adjusted odds of infection increased each year. During the first year, those in the case group had a 16 percent higher likelihood of infection than the control group, compared with a 55 percent greater risk in the sixth year. During the sixth year, the highest age-adjusted odds ratio was observed for hepatitis infection, with those in the case group having had a 238 percent higher likelihood of hepatitis infection than those in the control group.

The authors also found that certain infections appeared to have a greater association with certain cancer types. The odds of influenza infection just before cancer detection, for example, were highest for those who developed male germ cell cancers. Additionally, the odds of pneumonia were highest in those who went on to develop stomach cancer, and the odds of hepatitis infection were highest in those who developed hematologic, blood, bone, or bone marrow cancers. "Interestingly, we found that infection afflicting a specific organ did not necessarily correlate with increased risk of cancer in the same organ," noted Inaida.

 
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Synthetic cannabis chewing gum coming for cancer patients

by Randy Robinson | 19 Feb 2020

MedChew, a chewing gum that contains lab-made THC, provides the FDA-approved version of cannabis for patients with cancer.

We will likely see the US FDA approve a chewing gum made with an artificial cannabis chemical before we even see clinical trials for marijuana flower.

On Tuesday, AXIM Biotechnologies announced that it’s about to start its first clinical trials for MedChew, a chewing gum infused with Dronabinol. Dronabinol is a synthetic, human-made form of THC. Dronabinol is sold as a spray or pill under the brand name Marinol.

Why infuse a chewing gum with Dronabinol when there are already Dronabinol sprays and pills? First, from the data that AXIM has collected so far, MedChew’s Dronabinol begins taking effect within 10 minutes of chewing, so it kicks in much faster than swallowing a pill. Second, the data also showed that the gum slowly released Dronabinol across a 4-hour period, so the effects lasted longer and more consistently compared to getting one quick, single dose in a spray or pill.

"We are excited to have completed the first phase of our clinical study and are optimistic about moving forward with the next phase," said John Huemoeller, AXIM’s CEO. "We are getting closer every day to proving that our unique delivery method can provide cancer patients with quicker and more efficient relief from their chemotherapy-related symptoms."

Now, this begs the second question: Why is AXIM infusing its gum with lab-made THC when cannabis naturally produces the stuff that patients prefer? For starters, Dronabinol is already FDA-approved as a Schedule III drug and has been since the ‘80s. AXIM is likely to have an easier time pushing its gum through the FDA approval process with Dronabinol than with natural, cannabis-produced THC.

ChewMed won’t be for treating cancer itself. Dronabinol is only approved for treating nausea caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as for stimulating appetite in patients who live with cancer or AIDS.

However, AXIM is working on another chewing gum, called ChewMed Rx, which will contain cannabis-derived THC and CBD for treating Multiple Sclerosis. Chances are that ChewMed Rx, if it passes clinical trials, will be available in Europe and Asia long before it’s ever available in the US.

 
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CBD shows promise in fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer

by Experimental Biology | Neuroscience News | 27 April 2020

Cannabidiol (CBD) appears to slow the growth of glioblastoma brain cancer cells in both animal and human cell lines. CBD’s anti-cancer actions target mitochondria, causing them to dysfunction and release harmful reactive oxygen species. Cancer cells treated with CBD exhibited significant decreases in mitochondrial activity.

Findings from a new study examining human and canine brain cancer cells suggest that cannabidiol could be a useful therapy for a difficult-to-treat brain cancer. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive chemical compound derived from marijuana.

The study looked at glioblastoma, an often-deadly form of brain cancer that grows and spreads very quickly. Even with major advancements in treatment, survival rates for this cancer have not improved significantly.

“Further research and treatment options are urgently needed for patients afflicted by brain cancer,” said Chase Gross, a student in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Master of Science program at Colorado State University. “Our work shows that CBD has the potential to provide an effective, synergistic glioblastoma therapy option and that it should continue to be vigorously studied.”

Mr. Gross was scheduled to present this research at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics annual meeting in San Diego this month. Though the meeting, to be held in conjunction with the 2020 Experimental Biology conference, was canceled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the research team’s abstract was published in this month’s issue of The FASEB Journal.

Mr. Gross and colleagues examined human and canine glioblastoma cells because the cancer shows striking similarities between the two species. They tested the effects of CBD isolate, which contains 100 percent CBD, and CBD extract, which contains small amounts of other natural occurring compounds such as cannabigerol and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

“Our experiments showed that CBD slows cancer cell growth and is toxic to both canine and human glioblastoma cell lines,” said Mr. Gross. “Importantly, the differences in anti-cancer affects between CBD isolate and extract appear to be negligible.”

The new work revealed that the toxic effects of CBD are mediated through the cell’s natural pathway for apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death. The researchers also observed that CBD-induced cell death was characterized by large, swollen intracellular vesicles before the membrane begins to bulge and breakdown. This was true for all the cell lines studied.

The researchers believe that CBD’s anti-cancer actions target mitochondria–the cell’s energy producing structures–by causing the mitochondria to dysfunction and release harmful reactive oxygen species. Their experiments showed that cells treated with CBD exhibited significant decreases in mitochondrial activity.

“CBD has been zealously studied in cells for its anticancer properties over the last decade,” said Mr. Gross. “Our study helps complete the in vitro puzzle, allowing us to move forward in studying CBD’s effects on glioblastoma in a clinical setting using live animal models. This could lead to new treatments that would help both people and dogs that have this very serious cancer.”

 
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Ball-and-stick model of the L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) molecule,
C6H8O6, as found in the crystal structure.



Fasting + vitamin C effective for hard-to-treat cancers

by University of Southern California | Medical Xpress | 12 May 2020

Scientists from USC and the IFOM Cancer Institute in Milan have found that a fasting-mimicking diet could be more effective at treating some types of cancer when combined with vitamin C.

In studies on mice, researchers found that the combination delayed tumor progression in multiple mouse models of colorectal cancer; in some mice, it caused disease regression. The results were published in the journal Nature Communications.

"For the first time, we have demonstrated how a completely non-toxic intervention can effectively treat an aggressive cancer," said Valter Longo, the study senior author and the director of the USC Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and professor of biological sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. "We have taken two treatments that are studied extensively as interventions to delay aging— a fasting-mimicking diet and vitamin C—and combined them as a powerful treatment for cancer."

The researchers said that while fasting remains a challenging option for cancer patients, a safer, more feasible option is a low-calorie, plant-based diet that causes cells to respond as if the body were fasting. Their findings suggest that a low-toxicity treatment of fasting-mimicking diet plus vitamin C has the potential to replace more toxic treatments.

Results of prior research on the cancer-fighting potential of vitamin C have been mixed. Recent studies, though, are beginning to show some efficacy, especially in combination with chemotherapy. In this new study, the research team wanted to find out whether a fasting-mimicking diet could enhance the high-dose vitamin C tumor-fighting action by creating an environment that would be unsustainable for cancer cells but still safe for normal cells.

"Our first in vitro experiment showed remarkable effects," said Longo. "When used alone, fasting-mimicking diet or vitamin C alone reduced cancer cell growth and caused a minor increase in cancer cell death. But when used together, they had a dramatic effect, killing almost all cancerous cells."

Longo and his colleagues detected this strong effect only in cancer cells that had a mutation that is regarded as one of the most challenging targets in cancer research. These mutations in the KRAS gene signal the body is resisting most cancer-fighting treatments, and they reduce a patient's survival rate. KRAS mutations occur in approximately a quarter of all human cancers and are estimated to occur in up to half of all colorectal cancers.

The study also provided clues about why previous studies of vitamin C as a potential anticancer therapy showed limited efficacy. By itself, a vitamin C treatment appears to trigger the KRAS-mutated cells to protect cancer cells by increasing levels of ferritin, a protein that binds iron. But by reducing levels of ferritin, the scientists managed to increase vitamin C's toxicity for the cancer cells. Amid this finding, the scientists also discovered that colorectal cancer patients with high levels of the iron-binding protein have a lower chance of survival.

"In this study, we observed how fasting-mimicking diet cycles are able to increase the effect of pharmacological doses of vitamin C against KRAS-mutated cancers," said Maira Di Tano, a study co-author at the IFOM, FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Milan, Italy. "This occurs through the regulation of the levels of iron and of the molecular mechanisms involved in oxidative stress. The results particularly pointed to a gene that regulates iron levels: heme-oxygenase-1."

The research team's prior studies showed that fasting and a fasting-mimicking diet slow cancer's progression and make chemotherapy more effective in tumor cells, while protecting normal cells from chemotherapy-associated side effects. The combination enhances the immune system's anti-tumor response in breast cancer and melanoma mouse models.

The scientists believe cancer will eventually be treated with low-toxicity drugs in a manner similar to how antibiotics are used to treat infections that kill particular bacteria, but which can be substituted by other drugs if the first is not effective.

To move toward that goal, they say they needed to first test two hypotheses: that their non-toxic combination interventions would work in mice, and that it would look promising for human clinical trials. In this new study, they said that they've demonstrated both. At least five clinical trials, including one at USC on breast cancer and prostate cancer patients, are now investigating the effects of the fasting-mimicking diets in combination with different cancer-fighting drugs.

 
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Cannabinoid-based medicines and the treatment of cancer

by Guy Chamberland, M.Sc., Ph.D | OncoZine | 8 June 2020

Mankind has long known about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, but that is hardly enough to support the incorporation of cannabinoid-based medicines into the health care system.

For thousands of years, people have claimed that smoking cannabis relieves pain. When a belief endures for this length of time based on anecdotal information it deserves a deeper dive. The challenge I signed up for when I took the helm at Tetra Bio-Pharma, was to prove this scientifically with a pharmaceutical pathway that underscores our mission and values.

Chronic pain

Cannabinoids may be useful in treating chronic pain, reducing opioid use, and helping relieve pain and suffering where traditional pharmaceuticals or alternative therapies have failed. In that case, they could become a game-changer in how we deal with pain. But I am not alone in wanting proof. For several years now, the uptake of cannabis for medical use has been limited because of the absence of scientific data that conforms to the rigorous standards required by regulators, medical associations, and payers.

I saw the end solution to be simple, the road to getting there, not so much.

I became convinced that the only way that cannabinoid therapeutics would be incorporated into the traditional healthcare system was by following a classic drug development program. Discovering how inhaled cannabis works and learning the pharmacokinetics of how pain-relieving chemicals are delivered to the central nervous system, was key to the research we do at Tetra. Fast forward and we are currently investigating CAUMZ™, a cannabinoid-derived medicine that uses synthetic THC and CBD delivered to patients using an inhaler called the Mighty Medic, a medical device created by Storz & Bickell, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canopy Growth. The device is currently approved for use in Canada and is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of the approval process for CAUMZ™.

CAUMZ™ is being investigated for two indications. Our Phase II/III clinical trial called SERENITY© will study CAUMZ™ as a treatment to improve physical functioning and for modulating cachexia progression in patients with advanced cancer. Cancer cachexia remains an unmet medical need even though an estimated 50-80% of cancer patients suffer from it.

Finding evidence beyond anecdotal reports

Despite the anecdotical reports of patients and physicians claiming that cannabis was helpful to manage the constellation of associated symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and pain as of today, there are only a limited number of studies conducted on the condition, and to assess cannabinoids to manage the symptoms. CAUMZ™ dosage and route of administration increase the bioavailability of the drug, signifying an advantage over other cannabinoids and cannabis extracts.

A further Phase II trial called REBORN© is a head to head study investigating the efficacy of CAUMZ™ versus immediate-release oral opioids to measure pain intensity and the onset of action for breakthrough pain in cancer patients. For individuals suffering from debilitating pain, the faster they can achieve relief the better, so if successful, this research may offer an improved quality of life for these patients and reduce their opioid consumption. We are optimistic that CAUMZ is qualified for several FDA regulatory pathways that would see the time needed to have the drug approved and to market considerably reduced.

Another of Tetra’s cannabinoid-derived drugs undergoing Phase II clinical trial in the United States is QIXLEEF™, an inhaled medicine that is being tested for the treatment of uncontrolled pain in advanced cancer patients. Unlike CAUMZ™ which is based on a synthetic cannabinoid, QIXLEEF™ is a botanical product that uses dried flower buds. A Letter of Advice and Type B meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added important information that will evaluate the drugs’ impact on advanced cancer patients with uncontrolled pain. Based on a successful outcome, Tetra would be able to commercialize the world’s very first dried flower botanical cannabinoid drug product for the treatment of uncontrolled pain in patients with advanced cancer.

Orphan drug designation

Tetra has also received FDA Orphan Drug Designation for THC in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), also known as primary liver cancer, is the most common form of liver cancer and is responsible for 80 percent of the primary malignant liver tumors in adults. It is the second most frequent cause of cancer-related death globally. Tetra intends to leverage the pharmacokinetic and safety data from the CAUMZ Phase I clinical trial to support its Phase II trial of a modified formulation of CAUMZ, under the name HCC 011.

The phase II trial will investigate the efficacy of HCC011, administered in combination with the first line-therapy sorafenib, to improve control disease in inoperable, advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients. One of the next steps will be a Type B meeting with the FDA to discuss the HCC011 proposed clinical program and overall premarketing requirements.

Legitimacy of cannabinoids

Proving the legitimacy of cannabinoids for inclusion into the healthcare system is closer than ever and will lead to greater access for patients based on unequivocal trust. Those in the biopharmaceutical industry know that drug discovery and development is a long game.

They know the difference between medical cannabis and cannabinoid-derived medicine. While the race is on to commercialize cannabinoid-derived drugs for unmet medical needs I see more than enough reason to exercise care and caution to get the job done, not the least of which is putting patients first.

Then, and only then will the maximum benefit of cannabinoids reach their full potential.

 
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The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric

by University of South Australia | Medical Xpress | 5 Mar 2020

For years, curry lovers have sworn by the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, but its active compound, curcumin, has long frustrated scientists hoping to validate these claims with clinical studies.

The failure of the body to easily absorb curcumin has been a thorn in the side of medical researchers seeking scientific proof that curcumin can successfully treat cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and many other chronic health conditions.

Now, researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA), McMaster University in Canada and Texas A&M University have shown that curcumin can be delivered effectively into human cells via tiny nanoparticles.

Sanjay Garg, a professor of pharmaceutical science at UniSA, and his colleague Dr. Ankit Parikh are part of an international team that has developed a nano formulation which changes curcumin's behaviour to increase its oral bioavailability by 117 percent.

The researchers have shown in animal experiments that nanoparticles containing curcumin not only prevents cognitive deterioration but also reverses the damage. This finding paves the way for clinical development trials for Alzheimer's.

Co-author Professor Xin-Fu Zhou, a UniSA neuroscientist, says the new formulation offers a potential solution for Alzheimer's disease.

"Curcumin is a compound that suppresses oxidative stress and inflammation, both key pathological factors for Alzheimer's, and it also helps remove amyloid plaques, small fragments of protein that clump together in the brains of Alzheimer disease patients," Prof Zhou says.


Creamy Turmeric Pasta

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, but do you know how to use it?

by Jennifer Wong | ABC Life

Turmeric was once known as 'the poor man's saffron': an earthy-tasting spice good for adding golden colour to food and drinks.

These days it's just at home in the health food aisles as it is in cafes (turmeric latte, anyone?) — and that's because of turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties and potential health benefits.

Of course, it's not a new discovery for everyone.

"Turmeric is in 90 per cent of Indian food, and an average Indian would eat turmeric in 10 different ways in one day," says author and chef Ragini Dey, who's been cooking a range of Indian food in Adelaide for 27 years.

In India, eating turmeric for its healthful properties has also been going on for a long time.

"All spices have some medical benefits. Years and years ago the recipes were made up by Ayurvedic priests and other medical Brahmins, not chefs, and this was all very scientifically done," says Ragini.

So how do you use turmeric in its many forms, from fresh to powdered, and how much do you need to eat or drink if you're interested in the health benefits?

Lesson 1: How to choose and store turmeric

Fresh turmeric looks a lot like ginger (they're part of the same family, along with galangal) except its flesh is a vibrant orange. It's available in shops year-round.

"Look for ones that are nice and rich in colour and a good size, about 50 millimetres long, nice and big like a finger," says Carl Richardson, who grows organic turmeric at his Glenreagh farm in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.

As for storage, turmeric keeps in the fridge's crisper quite happily for three to four weeks, although it will deteriorate in flavour and quality over time. Carl advises against freezing turmeric because it will turn to mush upon defrosting.

When it comes to turmeric powder, there are two grades available. Madras turmeric, which is the turmeric commonly available at supermarkets, and Alleppey turmeric (more on their uses below).

To store, keep in a cool dry place, and you can expect turmeric to keep for 18 months or even two or three years with little deterioration.

Oh, and if you find yourself with turmeric stains on your hands, just rub them with some oil or salt. If it gets on your clothes, a good stain remover will do the trick, recommends Ragini.


Creamy Turmeric Chicken Skillet

Lesson 2: Curcumin and the health benefits of turmeric

Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin, which is the source of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Because it can limit inflammation, some researchers believe that curcumin can reduce the risk of arthritis, Alzheimer's and heart disease.

But if you're thinking of adding liberal doses of turmeric to your cooking for greater health benefits, unfortunately it doesn't work like that.

Human trials on curcumin have been inconclusive and use curcumin supplementation in very large doses of 1 to 12 grams per day.

"Although curcumin is showing some encouraging effects in reducing markers of inflammation in humans, the majority of the pharmacological effects of curcumin are in lab studies or animal experiments," writes Gunveer Kaur, lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at Deakin University, in The Conversation.

Plus, there's taste to consider.

"Too much powdered turmeric can make your food bitter, so you have to be careful how much you use. It's not a case of, 'It's so healthy, let's just put in a bucket load'," says Ragini.

She recommends using the right amount that a recipe calls for, which may not be more than a teaspoon at the most for five people.

Lesson 3: How to cook and eat different types of turmeric

Madras turmeric (dried and ground)

Madras turmeric is a pale yellow turmeric. It's best used when you want a very bright yellow colour rather than a strong flavour, for example, when making pickles, says Ian Hemphill who owns a spice company on the Central Coast of New South Wales.

"It's also good for adding colour to make yellow rice when you haven't been to the bank and can't afford to buy enough saffron," says Ian.

"It's a very gentle flavour that's good to use with delicate seafood."

Ragini recommends sprinkling some salt and turmeric on seafood, which will not only make the seafood a little firmer, but give the seafood more texture.
Alleppey turmeric (dried and ground)

Alleppey turmeric is the best turmeric to use in curries and tagines because of its rich and more earthy taste and stronger flavour, says Ian.

Its name comes from the port of Alleppey in South India where the turmeric was originally traded, but today it doesn't necessarily mean the turmeric comes from there.

"Alleppey turmeric is a much darker yellow. It's used in the Moroccan spice mix ras el hanout, and found in most South Indian cooking. Turmeric pairs well with ginger and also goes well with seafood, to help mask that overly fishy, ammonia taste," he says.


Turmeric makes for a tasty addition to many drinks.

Fresh turmeric

"In Indian cuisine, we would use turmeric fresh in salad-y things like a fresh chutney, or just add it to a vegetable or lentil preparation," says Ragini.

She recommends slicing the turmeric very finely and adding it to a little bit of heated oil with cumin seeds or fenugreek seeds.

This forms a good base for adding chopped cauliflower or zucchini, or seafood like prawns and calamari.

"Add everything together with a pinch of salt and it's ready," says Ragini.

Carl Richardson, who makes a pre-mixed turmeric tea, recommends using turmeric in a range of drinks.

"Grate up some fresh turmeric, add some honey and lemon juice, then add some hot water and let it steep for 10 minutes," he suggests.

 
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Psilocybin benefits in cancer sustained nearly 5 years later

by Nancy Melville | Medscape

Cancer patients who were treated with a one-time, single dose of the psychedelic drug psilocybin, combined with psychotherapy, showed significant benefits on measures of emotional and existential distress nearly 5 years after receiving the therapy, new research indicates.

In addition to reporting improved well-being or life satisfaction, patients rated the treatment as being "among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experiences of their lives," the authors note.

The study, the longest-spanning evaluation to date of the effects of psilocybin in the treatment of cancer-related psychiatric distress, was published online January 9 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

It follows up on patients who took part in a randomized placebo-controlled trial published in 2016, which was reported by Medscape Medical News at the time.

"The new findings of long-term benefit add to the emerging literature base suggesting that psilocybin-facilitated therapy may enhance the psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being of patients with life-threatening cancer," the authors comment.

"This approach has the potential to produce a paradigm shift in the psychological and existential care of patients with cancer, especially those with terminal illness," added lead investigator Stephen Ross, MD, associate professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, New York City, in a press statement.

"These findings have meaningful implications for the clinical management of cancer-related existential distress," the authors write.

Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy could represent the first empirically driven pharmacotherapy intervention to treat such patients.

Within Western medicine, existential distress is underrecognized and undertreated in cancer patients, the authors note. Depression and hopelessness associated with a diagnosis of cancer can be severe stressors and are well-known risk factors for suicide.

"The potential rapidity and long-term durability of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy's effects represents a promising protective strategy against suicides," the authors write.

Uniquely effective for depression in cancer patients?

Psilocybin, the active component in "magic mushrooms," has been studied as a treatment for various types of depression, but the drug appears uniquely effective for depression associated with cancer, said Matthew W. Johnson, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland.

An associate professor in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, he was not involved in this study, but he has conducted his own research into the use of psilocybin among cancer patients.

"This treatment has a way of getting at the existential issues that are central to the psychological suffering that can come with cancer," Johnson told Medscape Medical News.

"That said, we and others are finding positive findings for depression outside of cancer," he continued.

"We don't have the research needed to confidently compare the populations, but my impression is that the effect size of depression reduction is going to be larger for cancer patients than those without cancer."

Johnson commented that the new findings reflect what he has observed among his patients. "My lab has been contacted informally by many of our 51 patients who were in our psilocybin cancer study, some who were treated well over 5 years ago, with claims that they were still seeing lasting reductions in depression and anxiety," he said.

"So it is valuable to have a formal evaluation such as this new publication."

"An important caveat with respect to his own research as well as the current study is that the studies were only double-blind until about a month before the crossover,"
Johnson noted.

"So while the new long-term descriptive results are valuable and suggestive, we cannot exclude the possibility that placebo and other expectancy effects are not at least partially driving results," he cautioned.

Although the results of the long-term study were not surprising to Johnson, he said they likely will be to many researchers.

"And it should be," he said. "Such results are a game changer for psychiatry, in my opinion."

Longest follow-up of psilocybin-treated cancer patients

The original study included 29 patients who were experiencing cancer-related psychiatric and existential distress. They received either a single dose of psilocybin (0.3 mg/kg) or a single dose of niacin (250 mg) in conjunction with nine psychotherapy sessions. The groups switched treatments after 7 weeks in the double-blind study.

The results showed that the patients who received psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy experienced improvements in psychiatric and existential distress, quality of life, and spiritual well-being.

At a follow-up visit held 6.5 months after the treatment, 60% to 80% of the patients continued to meet criteria for clinically significant antidepressant or anxiolytic responses.

There were no serious adverse effects related to the psilocybin-assisted therapy, and there were no reports of abuse or addiction to the drug.

The new study reports long-term benefits regarding 16 patients (of the original 29) who agreed to participate in two additional follow-up assessments at an average of 3.2 years and 4.5 years following the psilocybin treatment. One patient died from cancer-related causes after the first of the two long-term follow-up evaluations.

The mean age of the participants was 53 years at the first long-term follow-up; 60% were women.

The study showed sustained reductions (in comparison to baseline) in anxiety, depression, hopelessness, demoralization, and death anxiety at both long-term follow-ups, with large within-group effect sizes at both time points.

Specifically, at the second long-term follow-up of 4.5 years, more than half (57 percent) of the participants showed clinically significant responses on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) for anxiety, and 71% reported significant reduction in global psychological distress on the HADS total score, which measures anxiety and depression.

In addition, clinical responses for depression on the HADS and the Beck Depression Inventory ranged from 57% to 79%.

Remission rates for symptoms of depression ranged from 50% to 79% at the 4.5-year follow-up.

Cancer remission status

Patients in this study had a variety of cancers, including gynecologic cancers (33 percent), breast cancers (20 percent), and lymphomas (20 percent). At the endpoint of the original study, 60% were diagnosed with early-stage (I–II) disease, and 53% were diagnosed later-stage (III–IV) disease.

Notably, at the second long-term follow-up, 71% of patients reported that their cancer had entered partial or complete remission.

"This is an important variable. However, we controlled for this and found that cancer remission status did not significantly interact with any of the changes in outcomes, [such as] anxiety, depression, existential distress, and so on," lead investigator Gabrielle Agin-Liebes, a PhD candidate at Palo Alto University, in California, told Medscape Medical News.

In addition, approximately half (53 percent) of participants reported that they had previously used a hallucinogen on one or more occasions, which Agin-Liebes said is higher than the national sample, in which the rate is only about 20%.

"What this means is unclear," she said. "Our sample may have been somewhat biased towards people who had tried a psychedelic before and may be a reflection that this type of person may be more open to trying this type of therapy," she explained.

"The key would be to recruit enough people who had never done a psychedelic in a bigger sample to more closely look at this issue, as a moderator of therapeutic outcomes," she commented.

Psilocybin may induce a "flexible brain state"

Psilocybin is a serotonergic hallucinogen that acts as a 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A receptor agonist. "Although the mechanisms behind its long-term effects in cancer-related depression are not well understood, a key theory involves an alteration in how the brain processes information and forms perceptions," Agin-Liebes noted.

"The most compelling and scientifically grounded theory relates to psilocybin's potential for inducing a flexible brain state, particularly people who experience more rigid brain states," she said.

"Psychedelics appear to relax the brain's biased patterns of information processing and beliefs and allow for more 'bottom-up' information to enter into one's consciousness," Agin-Liebes said, citing research that describes the theory.

 
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