A trial in Australia involving the use of medicinal cannabis to relieve symptoms of advanced cancer in palliative care patients is still seeking participants.
Mater Research has been heavily involved in investigating the potential for medicinal cannabis in cancer treatment, particularly the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD). Late last year, it completed the first trials examining CBD alone to see whether it improved symptoms associated with advanced cancer.
Another study, MedCan 3, aims to determine if a CBD dominant formulation with very small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) improves symptoms such as pain, nausea, shortness of breath, anxiety and depression. Half of participants will receive the cannabis product and the other half the placebo, with allocation to either group being random and researchers as well as participants unaware of which group the patient is in.
The study involves taking the medication for 4 weeks, with weekly face-to-face visits, regular phone calls with research nurses, provision of blood and urine samples and various medical assessments and questionnaires.
According to the MedCan 3 trial summary page, which also includes eligibility criteria, the study is accepting participants until November 2025.
Commenting on Mater Research’s activities generally, Mater Clinical Trial Coordinator Georgie Hugget said:
“Patients who are facing end of life are keen to support new and alternative treatment options that may assist them and others in the future. Our patients have often taken part in trials in oncology and haematology.”
The Mater Medical Research Institute was formed in 1998, funded by the Sisters of Mercy and their supporters. At that point, it had just 10 staff. The institute was officially opened in March 1999. Then in 2006, Mater Research incorporated and became a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) accredited independent medical research institute.
While on the topic of cannabis and cancer treatment, we recently published a summary of a Canadian study suggesting medical cannabis has the potential to safely and effectively alleviate pain in cancer patients. One of the stand-out points of that research was products with a balance of THC and CBD appeared more effective than those dominated by one or the other.