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JMCC Supports Clinical Trial for New Treatment for AML

Updated: Jun 10, 2018

Thousands of people around the globe are afflicted with or die from acute myeloid leukaemia (also referred to as acute myelogenous leukemia or AML) each year. In Canada alone, more than 1,300 individuals are diagnosed with AML each year and more than 1,000 die from it, according to the latest statistics available from the Canadian Cancer Society.

As the most common type of leukemia in adults, AML is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. AML is not a single disease. It is the name given to a group of leukaemias that develop in the myeloid cell line in the bone marrow. Since leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming tissue in the bone marrow, it can develop wherever the blood travels. As a result, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) often spreads quickly to vital organs, the skin and the central nervous system by the time it’s diagnosed.

Currently, the main treatment option is chemotherapy, with all its attendant side effects. Stem cell transplants (usually after chemotherapy) are an option in some cases but challenges in finding matching donors and high, sometimes life-threatening risks associated with the procedure, mean its use is limited, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. But other hopeful treatments are in development.

One of these is a drug under development by the widely respected Jamaican scientist, Dr. Henry Lowe, which was granted orphan-drug status by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 2017. (The “Orphan Drug Designation Program” provides orphan status to drugs and biologics that are defined as those intended for the safe and effective treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases/disorders that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S., or that affect more than 200,000 persons but are not expected to recover the costs of developing and marketing a treatment drug, according to the FDA’s website.)

“As far as I am aware, this is the first time that anyone from a developing country like Jamaica has been able to achieve the feat of starting from the isolation of a bioactive molecule and working it up to provide a new drug from scratch, which is recognized by the FDA,” Lowe said when announcing the orphan-drug designation last year.

The research by Dr. Lowe and his team is focused on the use of a cannabis-derived drug for the treatment of AML, and is now undergoing human trials in Jamaica.

JMCC is honoured to have been selected by Dr. Lowe to be the exclusive provider of the medical cannabis to be used in these clinical trials, which we are providing at no cost through the JMCC Foundation. CEO Diane Scott described JMCC’s contribution to Dr. Lowe’s research during her presentation at the Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo in Toronto on May 25.

Cannabis, known in Jamaica as ganja, has long been regarded as a plant with outstanding medicinal properties. Research has shown that marijuana can be effective in the treatment and management for a range of illnesses including cancer, nausea, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, vomiting, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, poor appetite and eczema.

JMCC is the premier provider of Jamaican medical cannabis to the world. We combine the country’s natural, year-round growing climate and distinctive cannabis strains with an unswerving commitment to international quality standards to deliver superior products via state-of-the-science cultivation, quality assurance, testing, processing, packaging, warehousing and global distribution.

Learn more about the JMCC Foundation here:

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