News / Windsor

Scientists say dandelion root extract may stunt tumour growth

There is a chance dandelion root extract could stunt the growth of tumours, according to some Windsor scientists.

Results from University of Windsor biochemist Siyaram Pandey’s research showed tumour growth in a group of mice halted after they were fed the extract.

The findings have prompted Pandey’s team to submit their research to Health Canada for clinical approval so that they can begin doing clinical testing on patients.

Although they haven’t been approved yet, Pandey already has an idea of its effects on humans.

“Since dandelion root is available in the market and the tea is available, many people have started inquiring about it... they are taking it on their own with the consultancy of their oncologist,” he said.

“We cannot say it is official because it is not a proper clinical trial, but some anecdotal evidence clearly show that some people have gotten some beneficial effects.”

Pandey received a $157,500 grant recently from the B.C. Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation, which will be used to produce the extract and help pay for the clinical trial.

The research first began in 2009 when a Windsor Cancer Centre oncologist Dr. Caroline Hamm noticed an improvement in conditions of patients who had been drinking the dandelion root tea. Pandey says he was skeptical at first but started testing and digging out dandelions from the university yard to make their own extract.

They found that the extract was able to achieve similar effects compared to some chemotherapy drugs on the market.

“These drugs have already made it to the market, so if we get similar results like these, plus advantages that there are no side effects,” he said. “I’m quite confident if those can make it to the clinic, this should make it to the clinic.”

Beyond that, the extract was also able to selectively kill cancer cells and leave healthy cells intact. Pandey says this was not surprising since many people in certain parts of the country do take the tea for traditional medicinal purposes.