HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Department of Health has opened the application process for expanded research into the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of children with intractable seizures.
Qualified research facilities are invited to compete for $2 million in funding from the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program (CURE) to support the study of CBD in treating children with epilepsy and other neurological diseases who suffer from medication-resistant seizures.
In November 2014, $2 million in CURE funding from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 was placed in budgetary reserve for so-called “non-formula” priorities.
Following the success of several small pilot studies, the Department of Health determined that the continued study of CBD for the treatment of seizure frequency would be a priority for the agency.
“Treatment-resistant seizures are especially tragic when they affect children. The inability to control or stop seizure activity has a devastating impact on quality of life of pediatric patients,” said Health Secretary Karen Murphy. “The goal of funding this research is to provide expanded – and compassionate — access to CBD for children with intractable seizures in the hope that they are relieved of their pain and suffering.”
The department has entered into an agreement with a manufacturer of pharmaceutical grade CBD. This manufacturer will provide a course of treatment for fifty pediatric patients at no cost to the awardee. The drug, in turn, must be provided to the study participant at no cost. The awardees will work directly with the manufacturer to secure, manage, and distribute the drug in accordance with its United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approved expanded access drug status.
The funding will be made available in the summer of 2016.
CBD is a natural cannabinoid and one of over 400 natural chemical compounds found within the Cannabis Sativa plant. When isolated, the CBD compound has no psychotropic effects in humans and initial studies indicate it may possess a variety of pharmaceutical benefits, including reduction in seizure frequency.
The Request for Applications (RFA) document is posted on the Department of General Services emarketplace website at www.emarketplace.state.pa.us. The deadline is December 8.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Worden, DOH, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health