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article imageResearchers say dandelion root extract may help fight cancer

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By Marcus Hondro     Apr 22, 2012 in Health
A researcher in Canada enjoyed a grant increase as he and his research team look to continue studying dandelion root extract with a view to finding a cure for cancer. Dr. Siyaram Pandey, skeptical initially, now feels they may be on to something.
A biochemist at the University of Windsor, Dr. Pandey has been involved in other cancer research projects and did not himself begin to consider dandelion root extract as a cancer fighter but had the idea brought to him. He's had positive results and has been given an additional $157,000 to continue his study of the extract.
Next study step is clinical trials
Dr. Pandey told the Windsor Star newspaper that with the study they have done to date they have shown dandelion root extract causes cancer cells to "commit suicide." Unlike other potential cancer fighting substances, the root extract does not harm healthy cells, he said. Thus far, trials have been done on isolated cancer cells and mice but with the promise shown they will now begin clinical trials with humans.
Describing this latest funding as a “big relief,” Dr. Pandey says they will move on to clinical trials using 30 patients with either leukemia, pancreatic cancer (which has a low survival rate) or melanoma. They will also conduct more lab work aimed at finding which active ingredients in dandelion root extract kills the cancer cells.
Dandelion tea: Cancer fighter?
It was a Windsor oncologist, Dr. Caroline Hamm, who first brought the potential of dandelion root extract as a cancer killing, healthy-cell-ignoring agent to Dr. Pandey. Dr. Hamm was finding that she had cancer patients who began drinking dandelion tea and subsequently recovered. She took this information to Dr. Pandey.
He was, he said, skeptical at first but, while Dr. Hamm acknowledged that it could have been nothing more than coincidence, enough patients were finding benefits from drinking dandelion tea that she felt it worth looking into. Dr. Pandey agreed and started to work.
This new funding comes from the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation from the Canadian province of British Columbia. The Star quoted Dr. Pandey as saying he feels that they have been given the grant because they've published good work, and that if dandelion root extract proves to fight cancer it will be easy for patients to access and take.
Dr. Pandey and his team intend to begin this next phase of their research immediately.
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