While there is still no real cure for cancer, every day researchers move a step closer to finding that cure. Twenty-five-year old Natalya Kogan, a Ph.D. candidate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, working under the supervision of Prof. Raphael Meshulam, recently proved that extract from the cannabis plant is able to help heal cancer within the organism.

Kogan, who immigrated from the Ukraine 10 years ago, developed a new compound known as guinniodic cannabinoids, which is similar to several anti-cancer medications such as Daunomycin. Whereas Daunomycin produces negative side effects in the heart, Kogan’s tests have proven the new compound to be much less harmful, even reducing the volume of cancer, which it did during animal testing.

What makes guinniodic cannabinoids compound so different is that it forms a complex with the enzyme Topoisomerase II, which is responsible for mitosis (when two new nuclei form with the same number of chromosomes as the nucleus from which they’re formed). This specifically stops the division of cells and growth of the tissues, as compared to most of today’s anti-cancer substances that are less selective in their action. These substances also reduce the blood supply to the cancer tissue.

While Kogan continues her research to discover mechanisms and modes of action for these substances, in the interim the substances themselves have a high potential for future anticancer medications. Kogan received the Kaye-Innovation Prize from the university for her research.