University of Windsor lab launches prostate cancer research

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Windsor Star/Doug Schmidt

 

After showing how dandelion root extract can cause cancer cells to kill themselves, a University of Windsor biochemist will now test it on prostate cancer.

Siyaram Pandey cautions that his work is a long way from actual clinical trials involving humans. But he’s hopeful his lab’s research over the coming year will be able to show that the natural extract can be effective against human prostate cancer cells at the cellular level and in animals.

To help cover the costs of the research, including the hiring of a graduate and two undergraduate students, Pandey’s lab on Tuesday was handed locally raised funds from the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation and the TELUS Ride For Dad. Less than a week before Father’s Day, Ride For Dad organizers donated $42,443 for Pandey’s research.

“The money we raise is shared between research and raising awareness,” said ride co-chair Shane Miles. Spending on awareness is aimed at encouraging people locally to get checked.

Diagnosed early, prostate cancer can be very effectively beaten with surgery. “Prostate cancer in its advanced stage is difficult to treat, and chemotherapies are toxic and cause hair loss, vomiting, diarrhea and a weakened immune system,” said Pandey.Diagnosed early, prostate cancer can be very effectively beaten with surgery. “Prostate cancer in its advanced stage is difficult to treat, and chemotherapies are toxic and cause hair loss, vomiting, diarrhea and a weakened immune system,” said Pandey.

Pandey’s latest research with natural extracts, including lemon grass, will also look at how they interact with conventional chemotherapy drugs.

“Our wish is that it enhances (conventional drug therapy) — but science doesn’t go by our wishes,” he said. He cautions anyone from thinking there’s a quick miracle cancer cure waiting around the corner.

Pandey’s earlier research showed how dandelion root extract caused cancer cells to kill each other while sparing normal, healthy cells.

If successful, he said the results of his latest research project would be presented to Health Canada in order to get approval for clinical testing with prostate cancer patients. He said those latter stages of clinical research would be very expensive and that the major drug companies are hesitant to provide funding because “natural compounds are difficult to patent.”