What Is pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. It is very common amongst men in developed countries.
Main risk factors
The main risk factors include smoking tobacco, poor diet (high-fat and high-carbohydrate), diabetes, obesity, chronic inflammatory diseases of the pancreas, genetic predisposition (familial) form of breast and ovarian cancer, family syndrome of a typical and melanoma [FAMMM], Peutz and Jeghers syndrome).
Source: National Cancer Institute
Pancreatic cancer arises as a result of the accumulation of irregularities in the genetic material of epithelial cells lining the pancreatic ducts. This cause a significant overgrowth of these cells, excessive proliferation (multiplication) and consequently leads to the formation of neoplastic lesions. The most common form is adenocarcinoma.
At an advanced stage, cancer spreads through the lymphatic and circulatory systems, resulting in metastases to other organs.
- Early symptoms of the disease include :
- Epigastric pain or a backache
- Weight loss due to loss of appetite and digestive disorders
- Absorption (later anorexia, cachexia)
- Nausea and vomiting.
At a later stage of cancer development, a clinical manifestation of the disease occurs in the form of :
- Jaundice (painless but associated with pruritus)
- Diabetes or glucose intolerance (the sudden appearance of diabetes in a person over 50 years of age
- Acute pancreatitis (precedes the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 13% of patients)
- Venous thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, Trousseau syndrome, gastrointestinal bleeding.
Prognosis depends mainly on the possibility of surgical removal of the pancreatic tissue changed. In the case of patients who have not been operated on, the chances of survival are low and usually last several months after the diagnosis. However, after partial or total resection of the pancreas, the mean survival time is 12-19 months, but 15-20% of patients can live up to five years.
In addition to surgical treatment, chemotherapy is also administered and introduces elements of analgesic therapy or antithrombotic prophylaxis.
Treating Pancreatic Cancer With Hemp Oil
The pharmaceutical company Zelda Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ZLD) recently announced that in cooperation with the Curtin University, they will carry out studies on animals (artificially induced with pancreatic cancer) in other to assess the efficacy of using hemp extract (oil) for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
It is expected that the results of these experiments will provide very relevant information, which in the future may lead to clinical trials in patients.
An effective method of cancer therapy
Harry Karelis, chairman of the board of Zelda Therapeutics, believes that the collaboration with the team of professor Marco Falasci from the University of Curtin will confirm the effectiveness of the use of hemp extract in research on the human body. Perhaps in the future, these results will contribute to the development of effective methods of cancer therapy.
Until now, cannabinoids have been used as supportive drugs in palliative therapy of various types of cancer, due to their antiemetic properties in patients suffering from cachexia.
The results of earlier in-vitro tests (on cell lines) showed that cannabinoids exert anti-proliferative properties (inhibit cell proliferation) in various types of malignancies, including pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
The joint project between Zelda Therapeutics and Universities Curtin is another preclinical experiment which always precedes proper clinical trials involving patients. We hope this result shows yet another benefit of hemp oil.