Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dandelion-root extract a cancer-killer in lab

  • Print

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Cancer researchers in Windsor hope to start clinical trials soon to find out if dandelion root extract can kill cancer cells in humans without harming healthy cells.

"We are very excited," said Dr. Siyaram Pandey, a biochemist at the University of Windsor, describing the result of lab tests that so far confirm dandelion-root extract kills cancer cells from leukemia blood samples.

He and oncologist Dr. Caroline Hamm of Windsor Regional Hospital are submitting their application to Health Canada for approval of a stage 1 clinical trial to determine what dose of dandelion-root extract is tolerable and effective in patients with an aggressive form of leukemia known as chronic myelomonocyctic leukemia (CMML) and other cancers, including pancreatic cancer and melanoma.

The research could lead to a cancer treatment that is non-toxic and not derived from synthetic chemicals.

"It triggers a very specific kind of suicide," Pandey said of the process in which the dandelion-root extract causes cancer cells to die.

"The fantastic observation was that it was very selective to cancers."

In other words, the extract only targeted cancer cells and not healthy cells.

This is a contrast to current chemotherapy treatments, which are very toxic and damage normal cells in the process of killing cancerous ones.

Pandey said the same cell-suicide result was observed when the dandelion-root extract was applied to other types of cancers, including bone cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and neuroblastoma.

Research conducted in mice has shown no toxicity either, Pandey said, and it showed the dandelion-root extract had no side-effects.

The team's latest findings were published Friday in the journal PLoS One.

Another paper is to be published next month in the journal of the American Pancreatic Association.

Pandey and Hamm came to this research about three years ago after a handful of Hamm's leukemia patients started drinking dandelion-root tea as an alternative therapy when their chemotherapy stopped working.

A few of those patients went into remission for a few months and then relapsed, Hamm said, but she brought the subject up with Pandey, who has conducted similar research with Hawaiian spider-lily plants.

One of Hamm's patients has been in remission for three years, she said, after a steady intake of dandelion-root tea.

She called the change "remarkable."

"It's not a home run," Hamm said of the tea, but the lab results warrant a clinical trial.

Financial support for the research was scarce, at first because of skepticism.

The Knights of Columbus started by making a grant in 2010. Over the years, this was followed by funding from the Seeds4Hope program and the family of Kevin Couvillon, a young man from Windsor, who died of leukemia in 2010.

The Couvillon family recently made a second gift of $20,000 to support Pandey's research.

"We are so grateful," Pandey said of the generosity of the family, adding the papers published on the topic have been dedicated to Kevin.

Pandey said all the funding for the research is local.

He and his team have patented a system to extract the compound from dandelion roots to make it as concentrated and powerful as possible.

Pandey said he hopes to meet with Health Canada in the next few months to discuss the potential for the clinical trial on humans.

"We're early on," Hamm said, adding if Health Canada does approve the clinical trial, she expects it will go quickly because there will be a lot of interest.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 21, 2012 A31

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Weather for final Fringing weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you like Gord Steeves’ idea to sell four city-owned golf courses to fund road renewal?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google