SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB:NVLX), an international biotechnology and clinical stage provider of natural products and cell and gene therapy solutions for the treatment of diseases, discussed today additional reasons for its subsidiary, Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc., to develop treatments for brain and pancreatic cancer that are based on cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa.
Plants have been the source of many well-known drugs for the treatment of a myriad of diseases, and cancer is no exception. For several years, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the U.S. has conducted a program that searches worldwide for new anticancer drugs from various natural sources, including plants. By using cannabinoids from Cannabis, such as cannabidiol, as the basis for developing treatments for deadly forms of cancer, Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc. is, in fact, embracing the NCI's efforts.
There are many examples of cancer drugs from plants that are in widespread use throughout the world for a variety of cancers. Prominent among these are paclitaxel (Taxol®) from the bark of the Pacific yew tree ( Taxus brevifolia), vincristine (Oncovin®) and vinblastine (Velban®) from the periwinkle plant and their synthetic derivatives vindesine (Eldisine®) and vinorelbine (Navelbine®), and Camptothecin™ from the bark and stem of the small Camptotheca acuminata tree native to China and Tibet. Derivatives of Camptothecin™ that are used in cancer treatment include topotecan (Hycantin®) and irinotecan (Camptosar®).Typically, plant-derived drugs are used alone or with other drugs in combination chemotherapy treatment regimens. Some of these drugs are targeted to the treatment of one or two forms of cancer, while others are used to treat several forms of the disease. Furthermore, these naturally-occurring drugs have inspired the production of derivatives that are also used for cancer treatment. Nuvilex's COO, Dr. Gerald Crabtree stated "By using cannabinoids for the development of treatments for some of the deadliest forms of cancer, Medical Marijuana Sciences, Inc. is building upon the strong foundation of very important cancer drugs that have come from plants. Given the knowledge that has accumulated in the scientific literature over the past few years, we feel that cannabinoids represent an excellent opportunity for the development of such treatments."