Medical cannabis formulations have been found to be effective at killing cells commonly found in breast cancer, says a UK pharmaceutical company.
A combined treatment of medical cannabis and medicinal mushrooms has been found to be effective at killing HER2+ breast cancer cells, the cause of around 20 percent of all breast cancers.
The cannabis formulations were developed by the Jamaican subsidiary of UK-based Apollon Formularies, with Canadian firm Aion Therapeutic Inc.
Testing showed that Apollon Jamaica’s medical cannabis was “particularly effective” in killing living HER2+ cancer cells directly, while Aion’s medicinal mushroom formulations were most effective in stimulating the immune system’s T-cell production to attack and kill HER2+ cancer cells.
When the two formulations were combined, nearly 100 percent of HER2+ breast cancer cells in 3D cell cultures were killed.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and accounts for the most cancer related deaths.
In 2019, the breast cancer market totalled over US$20 billion, with 68 percent of therapies sold targeting HER2 or CDK4/6.
Dr Stephen Barnhill, CEO of Apollon, commented: “Cannabinoids have been seen to exert ‘anti-tumor’ effects by a number of different means, including killing cancer cells directly as well as inhibiting transformed cell growth and tumor metastasis.
Apollon Jamaica, using results from its proprietary artificial intelligence based analysis on strain genetics, has cultivated and processed certain of its proprietary medical cannabis products with cancer treatment expressly in mind. We are excited that our formulations have been validated via independent laboratory testing to kill HER2+ breast cancer cells in 3D cell culture through direct cytotoxicity.”
He continued: “It is our theory that use of a combination of anticancer therapies, especially ones involving separate treatment pathways, may have advantages over single-agent-based strategies as they may allow simultaneous or serial targeting of tumor growth, progression, and/or spreading at different levels with efforts to kill cancer cells.
As a part of the independent laboratory testing, we have demonstrated that, when Apollon’s medical cannabis formulations are used together with Aion’s medicinal mushroom formulations, nearly 100 percent of HER2+ breast cancer cells in 3D cell culture are killed through multiple different pathways.”
Subject to the Apollon being issued the appropriate licences, the company intends to make its formulations available by prescription, and to begin treating patients with HER2+ breast cancer in Jamaica.
Dr Barnhill added: “This will allow us to corroborate these exciting laboratory results by observing the results of treatment in human patients.”
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