Cannabotech (CNTC.TA), an Israeli BioMed company which is engaged, among other things, in the development of a botanical drug based on Cyathus striatus fungal extract and cannabinoids extracts from the cannabis plant, reports that further to an experiment in a cell model in April 2022, which proved that the fungus-cannabinoids combination kills pancreatic cancer cells with high efficacy of up to 100%. The present experiment proves that the combined treatment of the two, at low concentrations, shows a much higher anti-cancerous efficacy than any of the active ingredients individually (an effect called: synergy). This result reinforces the assumption that combined treatment by fungal extract and cannabinoids would effectively treat pancreatic cancer with fewer side effects.
The experiment examined the effect of cannabinoids and fungal extracts on 3 subtypes of pancreatic cancer, with the best results obtained in a subtype representing Poorly Differentiated Cancer, considered the most violent and common in the population.
Another element tested in these experiments was identifying the killing mechanism of cancerous cells. The experiment showed that while killing these cancerous cells by the fungus is accompanied by increased cellular mortality called apoptosis, the cannabinoid mechanism in killing the cells is different. This is a positive result because the experiment shows that other mechanisms acting to kill cancerous cells have a better capacity for synergy between them. Furthermore, the findings also indicate no non-selective mortality here but rather activation of extracellular molecular mechanisms responsible for the controlled killing of cells.
It is the first time a combined anti-cancer effect has been seen between cannabis and fungal extracts in pancreatic cancer, and it is a promising breakthrough supporting the combined botanical concept led by Cannabotech: a combined effect of several active ingredients in several mechanisms, supporting each other’s activity.
The fungus has been researched for its anti-cancerous efficacy in the laboratory of Prof. Fuad Fares, at the University of Haifa, for about 8 years, and was selected as the preferred candidate for developing a drug for pancreatic and colon cancer after showing better anti-cancerous results than other varieties of fungi tested. A few months ago, Cannabotech received global and exclusive use rights for patents created in Prof. Fares’ research and began leading an accelerated botanical drug development process, as defined by the FDA, which the company expects to be cheaper and significantly shorter than the standard drug development process.
The cannabinoid composition, tested in the botanical drug trial, is also expected to be integrated into Cannabotech’s ‘integrative oncology’ concept. Marketing is planned to commence toward the end of 2022 in California and later, also in Israel, in early 2023.
Cannabotech expects to complete the feasibility study phase within 9 months, by mid-2023, at the end of which it will work to generate a developmental collaboration with a large pharmaceutical company to approve a drug with the FDA. As part of the next milestones in its developmental process, the company plans to conduct tests on an animal model in Prof. Fares’ laboratory at the University of Haifa under the management of Cannabotech’s scientific team.
Prof. Fuad Fares, a senior cancer researcher, said: “I am pleased the collaboration with Cannabotech yields groundbreaking results. The combination of the fungal extract with cannabinoids, acting on other anti-cancer mechanisms, strengthens the research we have conducted at the University of Haifa in recent years, which focused on finding a botanical medicine that is both effective and safe for the treatment of cancer. Having obtained these impressive results from cells that mimic a subtype of pancreatic cancer, known to be common and extremely violent, is very encouraging.”
Dr. Yitzhak Angel, Cannabotech’s pharmacological consultant, said: “The development of botanical medicine is a challenging process, and the results we have achieved constitute a tangible lead to consider these extracts are effective and safe to use as an anti-cancer treatment for pancreatic cancer. We still have a long way to go in proving this clinical feasibility, but we all hope we can bring some good tidings to patients and develop a real solution to one of the most violent cancers.”
Cannabotech’s CEO, Mr. Elchanan Shaked, said: “This is a significant milestone, getting us closer to our major vision, which we set for ourselves and our stakeholders three years ago. I am convinced we shall continue to meet schedules and within 9 months will complete the feasibility phase and proceed for the joint developmental cooperation with a large pharmaceutical company, vis a vis the FDA.”
The company’s development process is accompanied by Dr. Itzhak Angel, an expert pharmacologist who specializes in drug development, with over 35 years of experience in drug development and through his work as the Director of Pharmacology at SYNTHELABO/SANOFI pharmaceuticals company; and Dr. Alex Alex Weisman, an expert in organic chemistry and API manufacturing, who served as the former R&D manager of Perrigo’s API Division.
Pancreatic cancer is notorious for being one of the most aggressive cancers, with a meager survival rate and is one of the most significant causes of mortality in the Western world. The FDA is known to give companies significant leniencies in drug development processes for this indication. For example, defining them as “orphan drugs.”
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