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Texas A&M Scientists Hope To Cure Pancreatic Cancer With Marijuana-Like Drug
TruthOnPot.com – Researchers at Texas A&M University are collaborating with others across the country to develop drugs that mimic the effects of marijuana, according to a recent Texas A&M release.
The drugs have shown early promise in treating a long list of disorders – including cancer.Dai Lu, Ph.D, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and his team are looking at the body’s cannabinoid system and how it can be used for illnesses such as “pancreatic cancer, cerebral disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injuries, and metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity.”
The cannabinoid system is also thought to be responsible for many of the medical effects of marijuana. Unfortunately, legal barriers that prevent research on the plant itself have pushed researchers toward synthetic chemicals that mimic the plant’s effects.
Pancreatic cancer remains one of the deadliest types of cancer and Dr. Lu has been searching for a cure since losing his father to the disease in 2003.
In the release, Dr. Lu explained how targeting the cannabinoid system could lead to treatments that can kill pancreatic cancer and suppress cancer pain at the same time:
“Pancreatic cancer cells have more type 2 cannabinoid receptors than do healthy cells. Drug molecules that selectively activate this receptor can induce cancer cell death without affecting normal pancreatic cells. When given to mice with pancreatic tumors, the molecule prevented tumor growth and suppressed the spread of cancer to healthy organs. Meanwhile, this class of compounds generates painkillers comparable to morphine’s pain killing effect.”
Lu’s other work involves the ability of cannabinoids to prevent inflammation in the brain caused by disorders like Alzheimer’s or traumatic injury.
He hopes to begin the drug development stage in the next few years with grants (pending) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense.
The full press release is available online at news.tamhsc.edu