How Dandelions Make Cancer Cells Commit Suicide
Researchers at the University of Windsor, in Ontario, Canada, have been studying the common dandelion weed as a potential cure for cancer. Results of the study have been encouraging. It began when a local oncologist shared with them a home remedy brought to him by his patients.
Pamela Ovadje is the University of Windsor post-doctoral fellow who has been participating in the investigation. She says:
We had information from an oncologist, a collaborator here in Windsor, who had patients that showed improvement after taking dandelion-root tea. And so, with a phone call, we decided to start studying what was in this tea that made patients respond to it, so we started digging up dandelions.
Ovadje was open to the idea of a natural remedy, but she did have a reservation.
I figured dandelions are everywhere, and if there was something to it, people would have found this out already.
As it happens, the research results seem almost too good to be true.
Since the commencement of this project, we have been able to successfully assess the effect of a simple water extract of dandelion root in various human cancer cell types in the lab and we have observed its effectiveness against human T-cell leukemia, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, and pancreatic and colon cancers, with no toxicity to non-cancer cells. Furthermore, these efficacy studies have been confirmed in animal models (mice) that have been transplanted with human colon cancer cells.
The study began in 2009, and in February of 2015, the extract received approval for human trials. The dandelion root extract is now in Phase I trials for end-stage blood-related cancers, including lymphoma and leukemia.
The principal research investigator for the University of Windsor project is Dr. Siyaram Pandey, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. He thinks the dandelion root extract has “good potential” to destroy cancer cells in the human body.
The extract works by causing malignant cells to go through apoptosis, a natural process in which a cell, when no longer needed, activates an intracellular death program. In this process, malignant cells kill themselves while healthy cells are unaffected. Apoptosis is clearly far more effective than chemotherapy, which may kill one healthy cell for every five or 10 malignant cells. In addition, the extract prompts the cancer cells to commit suicide within only 24 hours after it is taken into the body.
Of course, the extract developed for human testing is much more concentrated than a dose you might obtain from dandelion tea. To learn more, check out Dr. Siyaram Pandey’s TED Talk, below: