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Medical cannabis to be trialled as skin cancer therapy

Australian researchers are set to begin a medical-grade cannabis therapy trial for melanoma patients after receiving $1 million in funding.

The collaboration between the University of Canberra and Israel-based pharmaceutical company Cann Pharmaceutical aims to produce a novel combination therapy treatment program for Australians living with melanoma.

Strains of cannabis developed by Cann Pharmaceutical will be coupled with the current standard care for melanoma patients.
Project lead and professor in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Canberra Sudha Rao said the research will help better inform the efficacy of medical cannabis-based treatments for melanoma.

“Australians have the highest rate of melanoma in the world, with estimates of more than 13,000 new cases to be diagnosed in 2016 alone,” Rao said. “When you consider that melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australia and New Zealand, and almost 1,800 people will die as a result of this cancer this year, we need to work harder at finding effective treatments.”

Acting vice-chancellor professor Frances Shannon said the University is excited to take a leading research role into the application of medicinal cannabis for Australian patients.

The project is expected to commence the initial clinical trial phase within the ACT in 2017.

Click below to hear more from Shannon.

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