Cancer-fighting tea set for clinical trials in Ontario
'Dandelion root extract has very potent anti-cancer activity,' biochemist says
By Jennifer Lee,
CBC News Posted: Dec 18, 2015 7:00 AM MT
30 patients to test dandelion's cancer-curing potential
Windsor Regional Cancer Centre
A Calgary company is involved in a clinical trial attempting to harness the potential cancer-fighting properties of a common weed.
AOR Inc. is developing a specially formulated dandelion root tea that will be tested on patients in Ontario.
30 patients to test dandelion's cancer-killing potential
"Dandelion has been used medicinally for centuries," George Templeton, director of operations at AOR, told CBC News. "In the last couple decades it's been started to be used for cancer treatments, mostly just through patients self-medicating."
Rachel Jacyszyn, research associate at AOR , says it took a year and a half to come up with the right formulation for the clinical trials. (Jennifer Lee/CBC)
The Calgary company, which produces natural health products, was contracted to produce the tea after University of Windsor researchers found dandelion root showed promise in the fight against cancer.
The two groups were connected by a non-profit organization, Mitacs, which helped fund the project.
"We scientifically validated that dandelion root extract has very potent anti-cancer activity," said Dr. Siryaram Pandey, professor of biochemistry at the University of Windsor, According to Pandey, the tea is being developed as a therapeutic agent, not a nutritional supplement.
How the tea is made
After a year and a half of painstaking work, scientists at the Calgary lab have formulated a dandelion tea powder that is six to 10 times more potent than something available at a health food store. Dandelion root is milled, an extract is created and then freeze-dried.
The end product is a fine mustard coloured powder that patients can dissolve in hot water and drink. "We've gone through many trials to find what does work and what doesn't work," said Rachel Jacyszyn, research associate at AOR
"We finally found something that does work"
AOR is now working to produce 6,000 doses of the tea for a clinical trial at the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre.
The one-of-a-kind trial, approved by Health Canada in 2013, involves 30 patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma who have had no success with conventional therapies.
Dr. Caroline Hamm, a medical oncologist at the Windsor Cancer Centre in Windsor, Ont. who is leading the study, she's seen improvements in some patients who drink dandelion root tea purchased at health food stores,
"Most of the responses that I have seen are very short. but there's a signal there that I think is worthwhile of further investigation," she said.
Hamm expects the trials to start within the next month.
Windsor Botanicals Therapeutics.
Published research on the effects of dandelion root extract on terminal blood cancers“Unusual Response of Acute Monocytic Leukemia to Dandelion Root Extract”
Effective Induction of Extrinsic Cell Death by Dandelion Root Extract in Human Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML) Cells
“Selective Induction of Apoptosis and Autophagy Through Treatment With Dandelion Root Extract in Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells”
“The Efficacy of Dandelion Root Extract in Inducing Apoptosis in Drug-Resistant Human Melanoma Cells”
Recent press items featuring DRE-W and Dr. Pandey.
Cancer-killing dandelion tea gets $157K research grant
Cancer-fighting tea set for clinical trials in Ontario
Angel investor boosts Windsor dandelion root cancer research (With video)
CRAIG PEARSON, WINDSOR STAR More from Craig Pearson, Windsor Star
Published on: April 8, 2014 | Last Updated: April 8, 2014 6:58 PM EST
A millionaire Toronto Internet entrepreneur has invested in a Windsor cancer-killing dandelion tea — with a taste for more.
Jesse Rasch, a philanthropist who made a fortune as a digital-age angel investor, was “awestruck” when he read about University of Windsor biochemistry professor Siyaram Pandey’s cutting-edge cancer research with dandelion root extract.
So the Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation recently gave Pandey an $80,000 grant to explore dandelion’s anti-cancer properties with lymphoma, as well as to test a dozen potential natural remedies, such as turmeric, gooseberries and neem leaf.
“We think Dr. Pandey’s work is really exciting, with strong scientific merit,” Rasch told The Star. “Unfortunately, I think it’s highly unlikely to be funded on that tremendous merit because this kind of scientific inquiry is mistrusted by mainstream academics and medicine. So the responsibility falls to small foundations like ours who are willing to put capital at risk to advance the promising treatments of the natural compounds that Dr. Pandey is working with.”
Rasch believes some natural compounds not only have the potential to one day help cure cancer, but to do so without the highly toxic effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
Dr. Siyaram Pandey says the $80,000 in private funding will also expand his cancer research to include other natural products such as gooseberries, tumeric and neem leaves. (DAN JANISSE/The Windsor Star)
Exploring such alternative treatments as intravenous vitamin C has a way of attracting criticism. But Rasch doesn’t care. He has seen studies suggesting certain herbal teas help fight various diseases, and he hopes Pandey can prove it.
“We think there’s a lot of efficacy and a very low cost to deliver these treatments,” Rasch said. “They’re especially relevant in a health care system that’s collapsing under the weight of very expensive pharmacological treatments. It’s also relevant for exporting potential cures around the world where there is simply not the budget for Third World countries to afford expensive pharmaceuticals.
“Frankly, some of these natural products, which have a lot of promise, cost pennies a day.”
Pandey is thrilled to attract the support of the Rasch Foundation, since it shows interest is growing. He has previously received Seeds 4 Hope grants from the Windsor Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation. And he has started Health Canada-approved clinical trials, which he hopes to finish next year.
Though Pandey came from India to Canada in 1993 — and to Windsor in 2000 — he did not bring the Indian tradition of natural medicines. Instead, he was doubtful when fellow U of W scientist Caroline Hamm urged him to explore natural products.
“I was very skeptical like any of the scientists,” Pandey said. “But when I saw the results, I fell for it.”
He is even more impressed lately, thanks to 23 success stories with tackling cancer, though he needs more to satisfy scientific standards.
“We want to clear the air for the public,” said Pandey, noting that dandelion root extract has already killed some lymphoma cells in preliminary lab tests. “We want to say, ‘Yes, there is scientific proof of this.'”
Pandey hopes to make Windsor a hub for natural disease-fighting remedies, possibly partnering with the University of Guelph and Health Canada.
“That is my wish,” he said. “Windsor could be the first to have this.”
Exploring the Anticancer Activity of Dandelion Root Extract
Providing a catalyst for positive change in the world is the operating principle of the Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation. Widely-known for supporting a broad range of philanthropic projects, the foundation has just approved $80,000 in research funding for Dr. Siyaram Pandey’s project, Evaluation of anticancer effect of various compounds against lymphoma.
According to Jesse Rasch, Chairman of the Rasch Foundation, Dr. Pandey’s research into natural compounds in the fight against cancer is the type of work the organization has a mandate to support.
“I am an entrepreneur and I look at investing in research in the same way my company looks at investing in start-ups and venture capital,” Rasch says. “We provide seed money for interesting ideas that will hopefully be able to attract the larger grants once there is proof of concept to be able to fund clinical trials. We do what we can to get things kick-started.”
Rasch says a media article about Dr. Pandey’s dandelion root research caught the attention of the foundation and falls in line with other natural compound research they support. “This is an opportunity to fund someone who has demonstrated the potential of something that exists within the natural space,” he says. “This is one of our areas of focus.”
The Rasch Foundation provides philanthropic support to the arts; education; medicine and research; animal welfare; heritage projects; children’s causes; and countless other initiatives in support of improving the quality of life and health for this and future generations.
Pandey’s work in alternative compounds in the treatment of some cancers first came to the attention of the public following a research grant from the Windsor Essex County Cancer Centre Foundation through its Seeds 4 Hope program, which provides start-up funding for locally-based, new and innovative cancer research.
Selective induction of apoptosis and autophagy through treatment with dandelion root extract in human pancreatic cancer cells
Selective induction of apoptosis through activation of caspase-8 in human leukemia cells (Jurkat) by dandelion root extract.
University of Windsor researcher recognized for dandelion tea research (2015 Mitacs Awards)
Nature, the best chemist | Dr. Siyaram Pandey |
EDx University of Windsor