This story is very fitting in light of the coming (starts tomorrow) free Cancer Summit 2012, discussing protocols for natural cancer treatment without excessive use of drugs, surgery, radiation and chemo.
Dr. Hamm remembers where it all began, with an 85 year old lady with aggressive leukemia and a very high white blood count of 130, the normal being 12. “I said to her, ‘There’s not much I could do. I could give you a pill to control it for a while.’ She said to me, ‘Don’t worry about me, I’ll take care of myself.’” Three months later, the old lady returned for a check-up. Surprisingly, her white blood count had dropped to 10. Her explanation – dandelion root tea.
The dandelion, widely regarded as nothing more than a common weed, may hold the key to curing cancer, according to a team of doctors from the Canadian city of Windsor.
Health Canada has just approved the first phase in a series of clinical trials aimed at testing the cancer-fighting properties of dandelion root extract. The research is led by Dr. Caroline Hamm, from the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, and University of Windsor biochemist Siyaram Pandey, who is confident that we’re looking at a new medical breakthrough. (First cancer clinical trial approved for Windsor)
Earlier this year, the research team conducted a lab trial which showed that dandelion root extract can kill cancer cells in controlled environments. The next step was finding out whether or not dandelion root extract works on humans, without harming healthy cells.
Dr. Pandey explained that this natural extract can trigger “a special kind of suicide” in cancerous cells only, marking a vast improvement over current chemotherapy treatments, which don’t distinguish between healthy and malignant cells. (Dandelion root extract – a cancer killer)
The idea for the lab trial emerged in 2009, when Pandey’s colleague, Dr. Caroline Hamm, noticed that leukemia patients responded positively to dandelion-root tea. Hamm talked about the initial slow progress of the research, and the lack of sufficient funding due to skepticism. With the success of the lab trial, and because natural dandelion root extract is not toxic, the research team was able to secure a $157,000 grant and receive approval for research on actual cancer patients.
Dr. Hamm explained that the first phase of the trial will help doctors determine what dose of dandelion root extract should be used to obtain the best results. “We’ll be escalating the dose with every cohort of patients. So every three patients, we will be giving them a little bit higher dose. The goal is to see what the best tolerated dose will be”, she said.
Fearing that dandelion tea could be interfering with traditional cancer treatments, Dr. Hamm released a statement in February 2012, urging patients not to mix dandelion tea with other treatments until further research had been conducted. Because of a lack of relevant scientific literature, Dr. Pandey resorted to brewing a home-made dandelion root extract and began doing lab tests with the help of his graduate students. Much to their surprise, they found that the dandelion concoction induced apopotosis (or programmed cellular death) in cancer cells. (Dandelion tea research grant)
The first phase of the clinical trial involves recruiting thirty Windsorites suffering from cancers of the blood or lymph nodes. These will also be terminally ill patients who have already tried out all other alternatives, including chemotherapy. In spite of the promising lab results, Dr. Pandey has expressed both hope and concern. “We are keeping our fingers crossed”, he said.
“There is something there… There’s no question that I saw improvements in patients when they took this drug”, concluded Dr. Caroline Hamm, determined not to get discouraged by a potential failure of the clinical trial. (http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/11/04/first-cancer-clinical-trial-approved-for-windsor/)
Dandelions have been used for their medicinal properties, in herbal medicines around the world, for thousands of years. Used mainly as a diuretic, dandelions have also been known to help relieve afflictions of the bile and liver, as well as treat various infections. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874106003576)