Biomedical company, Cannabotech, claims to have developed a botanical drug which could treat pancreatic and colon cancer.
A botanical drug, based on an extract of the Cyathus striatus fungus and a cannabinoid extract, is said to have been shown to eliminate 100 per cent of pancreatic cancer cells without damaging normal cells, in early studies.
According to an announcement from the company on Wednesday 13 April, in a cell model trial, the fungus extract reportedly showed five times higher anti-cancer efficacy than the original extract while causing 100 per cent mortality of pancreatic cancer cells.
The product was developed by Cannabotech in the laboratory of Professor Fuad Fares, a senior cancer researcher at the University of Haifa in Israel, who has been studying the anti-cancer properties of the fungus for almost a decade.
It was selected as the preferred candidate for the development of a drug for pancreatic and colon cancer after showing better anti-cancer results than a variety of other fungi tested.
A few months ago, Cannabotech received global and exclusive rights of use for patents created in Prof Fares’ research and began leading an accelerated process of developing a botanical drug as defined by the FDA.
Pancreatic cancer is reputed to be one of the most aggressive cancers and is one of the most significant causes of mortality in the Western world.
According to Cancer Research UK, just five per cent of those diagnosed survive pancreatic cancer for 10 or more years.
Over the last two years, as part of its integrative oncology concept, Cannabotech has been developing a series of preparations designed to aid in anti-cancer treatment and the side effects of chemotherapy, based on combinations of botanicals from medical cannabis and fungus-based products.
Prof Fares commented: “I am happy that the collaboration with Cannabotech is bearing fruit and achieving very impressive results to strengthen the research we conducted at the University of Haifa in recent years.
“The fact that such impressive results have been obtained in cells that mimic a subtype of pancreatic cancer that is known to be highly aggressive, reinforces the assessment that anti-cancer activity will be effective in other subtypes of pancreatic cancer as well.”
The next stage in the development process will see Cannabotech test both the active mechanism of killing cancer cells by extracts and the combined anti-cancer efficacy of the fungus and cannabinoids in cells and animals.
The company expects to complete a feasibility study phase within 12 months.
The company is accompanied in the development process by Dr Yitzhak Angel, a pharmacologist with over 35 years of experience in drug development and Dr. Alex Weisman, an expert in organic chemistry and API manufacturing.
Dr Angel, pharmacological consultant for Cannabotech, added: “Developing a botanical drug is a challenging process and the results we have achieved are a real indication that the extracts are effective and safe to use as an anti-cancer treatment for pancreatic cancer.
“We still have a way to go to substantiate that expectation, but we have good hopes to deliver real news to patients and develop a concrete solution to one of the most aggressive cancers.”