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Cannabis trialled as melanoma treatment by University of Canberra

Specific strains of medical-grade cannabis will be supplied to the university. Researchers at the University of Canberra will collaborate with a pharmaceutical company to test the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in treating melanoma. The university announced a $1 million deal with Israel-based Cann Pharmaceutical to provide specific medical-grade strains of cannabis, which will be administered to patients along with the current standard of care for melanoma patients. Molecular and cellular biology professor Sudha Rao said the research could benefit the almost-55,000 Australians that live with the skin cancer. "Australians have the highest rate of melanoma in the world, with estimates of more than 13,000 new cases to be diagnosed in 2016 alone," she said. "When you consider that melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australia and New Zealand, and almost 1,800 people will die as a result of this cancer this year, we need to work harder at finding effective treatments." Professor Rao previously worked on preventing the recurrence of breast cancer and other aggressive cancers. The canabanoids will be administered to patients along with chemotherapy, and researchers will monitor the impact on melanoma stem cells. UC acting vice-chancellor Frances Shannon said the access researchers had been granted to Cann's cannabis strains was essential to the research. "We are incredibly excited to take a leading research role into the application of medicinal cannabis for Australian patients," Professor Shannon said. The trials will begin in Canberra next year.

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