A British company which have been working for nearly two decades with medical marijuana believes that it has made a major breakthrough in the treatment of childhood epilepsy.
GW Pharmaceuticals, which has a licence from the Home Office to grow cannabis, announced final-stage tests on 120 children with Dravet syndrome (a type of epilepsy) had successfully reduced seizures by 39 per cent.
Phase 3 trials of the drug had been anticipated in the medical community, as excitement grew about the potential of this transformative treatment.
In particular, it is valuable for medical marijuana to deliver a cure for what is considered to be a painful and dangerous condition.
Dravet sufferers have to take a cocktail of medicines, but still suffer an average of 13 seizures a month.
The tests conducted represent a major breakthrough after many problematical years seeking a solution to the problem.
Only in January, another of its treatments, Sativex, failed tests which were hoped to show it helping alleviate pain in cancer sufferers.
And the city has already responded positively to the development, with the stock price of the company rising exponentially.
Shares in the company jumped 136% after the breakthrough announcement.
Justin Gover, the chief executive of GW, outlined the plans of the company for further trials, and asserted that the breakthrough in the Phase 3 trial should be considered a major medical milestone.
“The positive outcome of the Phase 3 trial “is a significant milestone in the development of Epidiolex as a potential new treatment for patients suffering with Dravet syndrome.”
Other trials are now underway for the epileptic condition of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, while the ability of the company to treat tuberous sclerosis complex will also be tested shortly.
Although these are not particularly well-known conditions, the extent of the condition tested in the UK is actually significantly wider than many might imagine.
Around 150,000 people suffer from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome in the UK.
However, despite the relatively widespread nature of this condition, epilepsy is generally considered to be a significantly larger area of need.
With this in mind, GW has already been able to acquire $500 million of new equity in the United States in order to fund the latest raft of trials.
The Dravet drug should be on the market by the end of next year in the US and soon after that in Europe.
GW is headquartered in London but has laboratories in Cambridge and Porton Down.
The company has been working on its epilepsy cures since 2013 and began to develop the Epidiolex syrup in October 2014.