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Marijuana trials for epileptic children

ASX-listed MGC Pharmaceuticals has recruited two global epilepsy experts to lead a new clinical trial into how medicinal cannabis can help treat young epilepsy sufferers.

In an update to the market this week, MGC said it would commence the clinical study to assess the efficacy of a cannabis based formulation to treat children and adolescents who could not be helped by conventional treatments.

The Perth-based company said the trial would be headed up by paediatric specialist Dr David Newbauer and leading Israeli epilepsy expert Professor Uri Kramer. Both medical professionals have significant prior experience in using cannabidiol, a marijuana derivative, to treat epilepsy.

The clinical trial will run over 6 weeks and involve 65 patients at the University Children's Hospital at Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, company management said.

MGC believes the results of the trial will be instrumental in the development of its own proprietary treatments for epilepsy as it advances its medical research program.

If the trial yields positive results the company plans to have its formula designated as a drug in Slovenia that will enable the European nation's doctors to prescribe it to epilepsy sufferers.

MGC's research program into medicinal uses for marijuana is being developed alongside its cannabis-based cosmetic and dermatological lines aimed at the burgeoning global market for marijuana-derived products.

MGC co-founder and managing director Nativ Segev said: "We look forward to the results of our clinical study on the efficacy of our medical cannabis formulation for the treatment of epilepsy in young people."

"We are confident that medical cannabis has the potential to bring relief to many people across the globe currently suffering with epilepsy."

"Additionally, the development of a cannabis-based product targeted at the relief of epilepsy presents a significant commercial opportunity for MGC Pharmaceuticals."

Tuesday's clinical trial announcement comes after the company bolstered its medical research program earlier this month by completing the acquisition of Czech-based medical cannabis company Panax Pharma.

That acquisition has enabled MGC to significantly scale up its research into medical marijuana at world-leading European facilities within the  Czech Republic’s Institute of Experimental Botany of Academy of Sciences.

The company has already achieved European and US revenue flows from its cosmetic offering and has previously announced plans to advance the commercialision of its dermatological line via human clinical trials in Slovenia. 

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