Mesothelioma researchers working to find innovative ways to extend patient survival times may be inspired by the results of a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom. According to a report published in the journal Oncogene, scientists from Queen Mary University of London were able to triple the survival rates of laboratory animals with pancreatic cancer by combining their chemotherapy regimen with cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
Both pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma are considered to be extremely deadly forms of cancer. Where pancreatic cancer’s one-year survival rate is just 20% for all stages of the disease, malignant mesothelioma’s two-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with early stage disease is between 38 and 46%, and for late-stage diagnoses that drops to 17 to 30%. Finding a cure for either disease has proven extremely challenging.
Though it has long been known that cannabidiol can help patients with mesothelioma and other cancers by reducing side effects like vomiting and nausea, this new research suggests that the compound may have anti-cancer properties. According to lead researcher Marco Falasca, “Cannabidiol is already approved for use in clinics [in the UK], which means we can quickly go on to test this in human clinical trials.” Unfortunately, the same is not true for researchers in the United States, as cannabidiol is still considered an illegal substance under federal law. That may change, as the FDA recently approved a drug that uses the substance in an epilepsy treatment. It has also shown promising research results in other illnesses, including easing migraines and improving stroke recovery.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, staying on top of studies like this one is important, but can be time consuming. For access to similar information that may be of help to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.