Prostate Cancer: Early data suggest medicinal cannabis could treat the deadly disease

Prostate Cancer: Early data suggest medicinal cannabis could treat the deadly disease

PROSTATE cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. Every year thousands get diagnosed with a condition that rarely presents symptoms in its early phases. Now new results suggest medicinal cannabis could be used as a treatment.

According to Cancer Research UK: “One in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives." That's 50 percent of the population. Almost everyone in the UK knows someone who has been affected by, is being treated for, or has died from cancer. Such is its widespread effect that earlier this year the Government launched its 10-year War on Cancer. The aim of this initiative is to find new treatments that will help beat back cancer and save lives. Just like in other fields of war, new technologies will have to be developed and new avenues walked down to find new treatments.

Medicinal cannabis could be one of those avenues, in fact it could become the Government’s unexpected armament in its War on Cancer.

Data from a UK based company, Apollon Formularies, has found that medicinal cannabis can kill prostate cancer cells. In a statement it said: “Medicinal cannabis formulations were shown to be effective in killing both hormone-resistant and hormone sensitive prostate cancer cells in 3D cell cultures in third party independent laboratory testing." Doctor Stephen Barnill, CEO of Apollon, noted: “Cannabinoids have been seen to exert ‘antitumor’ effects by a number of different means, including killing cancer cells directly as well as inhibiting cell growth and tumour metastasis." Although these results were conducted in a laboratory setting, they add to a growing body of evidence suggesting cannabis could have a positive impact on cancer and therefore a role in future treatments.

Cannabis Cancer research is playing catch up after years of stigmatisation that has held back research projects and trials.

As well as Apollon Formularies’ research, the Universities of Birmingham and Leeds are running a trial into whether a form of medicinal cannabis known as Sativex could be used to treat brain tumours. Of the trial, Director of Cancer Research UK’s Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU), Professor Pam Kearns said: “Our mission at the CRCTU is to translate cutting edge science and research into improved patient care by identifying novel therapies that will save lives.

“It is vital like this, investigating the role cannabis or the chemicals in it can play to treat cancer, are carried out”. Every year around 166,000 people die from cancer in the UK; the equivalent of losing the population of Canterbury.

As a result, it's vital that every avenue of treatment possibility is tried so that fewer lives are lost.

Prostate cancer accounts for between 40 – 50,000 of those cases.

A tricky disease to treat due to the lack of symptoms apparent in early phases of the condition, more work is being done to encourage men to think about their risk year-round.

Charities like Prostate Cancer UK are working to change this, to try and get men to think more about their risk.

While there is substantial focus on male cancers during November, there is a drop either side.

As part of this programme, earlier this month the charity launched a 30-second checker.

Made up of three questions, this checker allows men to find out how at risk they are of developing prostate cancer.

If it is high enough, the checker will suggest next steps and tests to help the survey participant find out whether they need treatment.

For more information on prostate cancer, contact the NHS or consult with your GP.

< Back to News