Of all the different types of cancer, brain cancer is one of the most difficult to treat.

The brain is an extremely tricky organ and is the most complex in the human body. It is well protected from medicines crossing between the blood-brain barrier. Surgeries and even radiotherapy can sometimes be out of the question for patients that have brain cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts and Figures” 2014 report about 23,380 new cases of brain and nervous system cancer were expected to be diagnosed. This type of cancer was estimated to lead to 14,320 deaths this year. Although that number may not sound like a lot compared to lung cancer or breast cancer, but the figures demonstrate that few adult live extended periods of time after a brain cancer diagnosis.

Although biopharmaceutical companies are trying, they are mostly failing.

Northwest Biotherapeutics is in the process of developing a cancer immunotherapy vaccine known as DCVax-L. Immunotherapies work with patient’s immune system to strengthen its ability to recognize foreign cells and hopefully destroy and or remove them. DCVax-L is currently being teste in late-stage in the United States as a treatment for glioblastoma multiform, the more aggressive form of brain cancer.

Germany has recently granted Northwest Biotherapeutics a special approval known as a hospital exemption earlier this year which, for a period of 5 years, allows Northwest Biotherapeutics to treat all glioma patients with DCVax-L.

Although this might be a start, the grim reality is that brain cancer treatments have mostly disappointed in clinical studies. One recently released study suggests that looking toward this currently illegal drug could be the answer to making significant headway against aggressive forms of brain cancer

According to the research released in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, marijuana was suggested in select studies to be effective in combating aggressive gliomas.

At the moment  the federal government views marijuana as a schedule 1 drug and as such it’s deemed to possess no medical benefits. However, a number of studies have no delivered positive reports suggesting that medical marijuana could help patients with cancer pain, Alzheimer’s, and no possibly aggressive brain cancer.

Gerry Oginski
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