QBL sitting on cannabis breakthrough in treating MS

QBL sitting on cannabis breakthrough in treating MS

Queensland Bauxite (ASX: QBL), a major player in the medical cannabis market, has announced a potential breakthrough for the treatment of one of the world's most prevalent autoimmune disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS).

QBL, through an agreement between Medical Cannabis Research Group and leading global cannabis researcher Professor David Meiri of the Technion Institute in Israel, has revealed that a unique strain of cannabinoids could be the answer to regulating immune function and treating MS.

The discovery has come earlier than expected for the research team, it says.

The Medical Cannabis Research Group is a subsidiary Medical Cannabis Limited (MCL), which is wholly owned by QBL.

Meiri's research team is supported by the Israeli Government and it is collaborating with leading Israeli hospitals to implement human trials for the cannabis treatment once preliminary testing on mice is completed.

QBL says animal testing is expected to begin this week and that product development could begin in early 2019 if the trial process proves successful.

"This news is fantastic," says Andrew Kavasilas, the founding director of MCL.

"We understand how broad and complex the entire medical Cannabis issue is.

"If we're already finding specific cannabinoids of interest that we're capable of producing in vast quantities to treat identifiable medical conditions, product development could happen much sooner than I thought."

MCL announced funding of the research in February this year in return for an exclusive license for the commercialisation of any product derived from the study.

The key target for the research was to find a use for medical cannabis to treat MS, which is one of the most prevalent autoimmune diseases worldwide. The condition leads to serious debilitation of sufferers and ultimately death as the immune system mistakenly attacks the body.

Medicinal cannabis has been known to relieve the pain of MS in the past, but this new breakthrough has the potential to treat the disease.

Professor Meiri says that during laboratory testing from the hundreds of strains available, he discovered cannabinoids from a unique cannabis strain that has the capacity to inhibit dendritic-dependent T-cells proliferation.

He says this is vital to finding the right cannabis extracts to produce a formula to regulate immune function and treat MS.

"These exciting results are a great foundation for our collaborative work," Meiri says.

"The Technion group finished establishing all the necessary systems for this work and we are thrilled with the preliminary results."

QBL chairman Pnina Feldman says the discovery vindicates the company's investment in cannabis genetics and medical research.

"Following successful human trials which Professor Meiri believes can potentially be completed in Israel within 18 months, the expected outcome is for the specific product formulation to be patented and marketable by QBL-MCRG," she says.

"The board anticipates that this research could form the basis of an entirely new approach for autoimmune disease treatment.

"As the medicinal cannabis market propels into the next decade, MCL intends being at the forefront of life altering research and profit."

The autoimmune disease treatment market was estimated to be worth more than $48 billion in 2016.

QBL shares have been suspended from trading while the company reconfigures a planned capital raising of up to $6 million. They last traded at 3.7c each.

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