By Sharon Letts
CURE, Technion and CannaKids Team up for Powerful Progress
While Tracy Ryan’s daughter, Sophie, underwent treatment for brain cancer using cannabis oil with chemotherapy (see Emerald Magazine, Nov. 2017), Tracy said her ultimate goal was to bring together a brain trust of doctors, scientists, and researchers from around the world that could pull their resources together for the greater good.
That goal was realized with the teaming up of CURE Pharmaceuticals of Oxnard, California; Technion, Israel’s historic institute and research foundation in Haifa; and CannaKids, Ryan’s non-profit in Los Angeles, which supports children and adults alike who use cannabis oil to treat cancer and other ailments.
CannaKids is a California cooperative created by Ryan in response to her own research and success in the treatment of her daughter. In the past two years since the organization began helping children with cancer, they’ve reached more than 1,000 patients with a myriad ailments whose ages range from eight months-to-85 years old. The company’s highly concentrated, lab-tested oils are mold, pesticide and solvent-free.
The Technion is the Israel Institute of Technology, founded in 1912. It’s the oldest university in Israel and in the Middle East, and home to the Technion Research and Development Foundation, Ltd. — the division in which CannaKids has a contractual agreement for research.
Ryan’s connection with the institute came with a visit to Israel a year ago, after she flew a sample of Sophie’s brain tumor there to be evaluated. CannaKids’ patient data was also sent to Technion to aid in its research. Tracy’s intent was to meet with Technion’s research Professor David (Dedi) Meiri for follow-up. However, after a lab tour, she caught a ride home from Meiri, and a conversation ensued about the possibility of their respective organizations working together.
“It was serendipitous,” Ryan shared. “We realized we were working toward the same goals. Technion’s been doing incredible clinical research globally for five years, so I was empowered to make this collaboration happen.”
When Ryan returned to LA, she and her team got to work to find the funds necessary for the project – and that’s when CURE Pharmaceuticals came on board, and subsequently added Ryan to its advisory board in the process.
With its FDA approved, state-of-the-art facility already dealing with nanotechnology, CURE is known for developing sublingual CureFilm™ strips. The strips allow higher doses of medications to enter directly into the bloodstream via oral delivery. The company is also known for its development of a treatment for malaria, which is currently used in third world countries. This philanthropic division of the company appealed to Ryan.
“CURE is directly funding research with Technion in Israel,” Ryan explained. “With Western medicine, every patient gets the same treatment. This team will be working on personalized medicine based on driving mutations in each patient for that individual’s cancer.”
A Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) clearance is needed in order for CURE to produce medicine based on Technion’s findings, as cannabis remains a Schedule I substance in the U.S., and not yet acknowledged as medicine. Once that hurdle is cleared, an oral thin film application with proprietary blends will be poised for human trials in one of the top pediatric hospitals in the U.S. in a double-blind study.
In the three years that followed Sophie’s struggle with cancer, which included recurrence and more treatments, Ryan’s hope remains in finding a dream team to do away with the cancer, once and for all.
“I’m not a researcher, I am just a mom,” she surmised. “But, I’m determined to keep my child from having to go through this any longer. And if we can help others in the process, then what my daughter has suffered through will not be in vain.”