Researchers from Curtin University’s School of Biomedical Sciences in Perth, Australia are testing medical marijuana as a possible breakthrough treatment for pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal diseases on the planet.

The project is being undertaken in collaboration with Zelda Therapeutics, a Perth-based biopharmaceutical company, which will import the cannabis from Canada.

The research, according to news.com.au, will examine the usefulness of cannabis formulations as stand-alone treatments in combination with existing chemotherapy drugs.

Pancreatic cancer, the 11th most prevalent cancer diagnosed in Australia, is difficult to detect in the early stages and is extremely aggressive. Only six percent of sufferers survive for five years following diagnosis, according to Cancer.net.

“After years of slow progress in the field of pancreatic cancer treatment, we hope to finally open the path to new therapies for pancreatic cancer,” Curtin University’s Professor Marco Falasca said.

Zelda Therapeutics, according to their website, said the project will seek to replicate the success of its cannabinoid formulations on breast cancer.

In November, Zelda announced the results of an experimental trial, claiming its THC-rich medical cannabis formula was as effective in reducing breast cancer tumor growth in mice as the chemotherapy drug Lapatinib.

The results, which saw Zelda’s share price surge, still require clinical trial validation.

According to Zelda: “There is a growing body of evidence that whole plant cannabinoid extracts can impede cancer growth and potentially render the tumor more responsive to chemotherapeutic agents.”

Zelda’s executive chairman Harry Karellis hopes the pancreatic research will demonstrate anti-cancer activity.

“Professor Falasca [from Curtin University] has an established reputation in studying pancreatic cancer using cannabinoids in Italy, the United Kingdom and more recently, in Australia,” he told news.com.au.

Zelda has partnered with leading cancer researchers at Complutense University of Madrid, Spain and also has ties to AusCann, which has plans to cultivate and manufacture MMJ in Western Australia.

For these cancer trials, AusCann will source the research material from its Canadian partner Canopy Growth Corporation, the world’s biggest medical cannabis cultivator.

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