Integrative oncology, medicinal cannabis

Dr Janet Schloss

Janet is a Clinical Research Fellow at the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, Southern Cross University and is an accomplished researcher with extensive experience in coordinating clinical trials and conducting research. In addition to her academic career, Janet is a practicing clinical nutritionist and naturopath with over 23 years’ experience.  

Following the completion of her doctorate in 2015, Janet has focused her research on supporting people who have cancer through studying the use of complementary medicines to assist side effects of cancer treatments.

Janet has completed a number of ground-breaking studies, been involved as the chief investigator for over 20 trials and has over 70 publications, and now focuses a lot of her research on medicinal cannabis and supplements to assist chronic diseases.

Glioblastoma trials, Janet Schloss

“Research is about the people themselves and how we can help make a difference to the individual. Everyone is different, so even if it works for a percentage of people, I’ve made a difference and that’s the best feeling.” 

New options for Brain Cancer Patients

Brain cancer is considered to be a serious issue on the global burden of disease. Worldwide, 347,992 new cases of brain cancer were diagnosed in 2019. In Australia, 1 in 193 people (or 0.52%) have a risk of dying from a brain tumour by the age of 85.   

Brain cancer is a significant source of cancer-related morbidity and mortality worldwide. The countries with the highest incidence of brain and central nervous system tumours are Eastern Asia, W Europe, South Asia, North America, Latin America and Australasia.  

Recent cancer survival statistics have revealed that brain tumours have a worse survival rate than all other cancers except pancreatic. A slight improvement was found with the five-year survival rate now being 12.5% compared to 12% previously. Basically, there has been no improvement in survival rates in 3 decades. 

Due to the poor prognostic outcome of people diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and Astrocytoma grade 3 (AA3) in adults and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) in children, finding new novel treatments that can go alongside current medical treatment is imperative.

To date, Dr Janet Schloss has conducted one of the only trials world-wide on medicinal cannabis and high-grade gliomas. From this trial, she identified that oral oil based medicinal cannabis was well tolerated and improved sleep, daily activity and quality of life. Additionally, the follow up found that 47% of the cohort were still alive two and half year’s post-trial (4-7 years post diagnosis) with only two not continuing with the medicinal cannabis.  

In addition to medicinal cannabis, there are many other natural substances that can be trialled with these patients to see if they can assist treatment, improve survival rates, reduce brain swelling and improve quality of life. But further funding for these trials is required. 

Donate to the Centre to help us continue to support Janet's work to improve the lives of those living with brain cancer through her cutting-edge research. Together, we can make a difference. 

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