(CBS Local) — A chemical found in the cannabis plant has demonstrated “significant therapy potential” in treatment of pancreatic cancer, according to researchers from Harvard University’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Scientists tested the effects of FBL-03G — a derivative of a cannabis “flavonoid,” compounds found in plants that, among other things, give them their colors — on pancreatic cancer cells in petri dishes and on animals with the disease.
“This has major significance, given that pancreatic cancer is particularly refractory to current therapies,” told Yahoo Lifestyle. “If successfully translated clinically, this will have major impact in treatment of pancreatic cancer.”
Ngwa hopes to complete ongoing pre-clinical studies by the end of 2020.
Pancreatic cancer makes up just 3 percent of all cancers in America, but is one of the hardest-to-treat and deadliest forms of the disease, killing more than 92 percent of sufferers within five years. It is predicted to be the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., after lung cancer, by 2020.
Ngwa says scientists also found FBL-03G capable of attacking other cancer cells.
“We were quite surprised that the drug could inhibit the growth of cancer cells in other parts of the body, representing metastasis, that were not targeted by the treatment,” he said. “This suggests that the immune system is involved as well, and we are currently investigating this mechanism.”