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Research scientist makes a life-changing discovery

Dr Siyaram Pandey is hailed as the scientist who has possibly discovered the cure for several types of cancer. A professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Windsor, his research is focused on apoptosis (cell suicide), which is central to various aspects of human health including neuro-degeneration, stroke and cancer. 

The dandelion root extract he worked with has been approved by Health Canada for clinical trials against blood-related cancers, becoming the first natural cure for cancer to receive the approval. 

“I am not the world’s best cancer researcher,” says Dr Pandey. “These cures should have discovered 20 years ago. But the blame lies with the scientific community. When we talked about the efficacy of dandelion extract, we were laughed at for trying to ‘cure cancer with snake oil’. I am all for dismissing something if it doesn’t work, but not out of any bias.”

His team is working to see if dandelion extract would work as a preventive and also testing 28 other natural extracts. Of these, lemon grass, hibiscus and white tea have shown pretty good activity in petri dishes and are now being tested on animals.  

Dr Pandey, who has given a TEDx talk on the subject and is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman in 2016, presented at the House of Lords in London, England, and Indian National Science Academy Medal for Outstanding Young Scientists 1992, India’s most prestigious national award for young scientists,came to Canada in 1992 as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill.

“I was so afraid of the cold, I had only seen -20 in the freezer! Also, it came as a bit of a shock to only see cars and buildings, hardly any people. But I quickly grew to love Montreal. It was so accepting, so welcoming.”

Born in a village near Benaras in India, in a farming family, Dr Pandey recalls working in the fields with his father.

“Do everything with full dedication and devotion, or not at all, my father used to say, because otherwise, you are not doing justice to it... As long you have a richness of human beings around you and the satisfaction of having been of some use, that is your best reward.”

Those are the words Dr Pandey lives by. Adding that if one is open and clean-hearted, one will be accepted. If one is reasonable and rational, one will succeed. 

Dr Pandey is active in the community and was President of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre of Windsor until recently, undertaking a project to build the $4.5 million cultural centre with community support. 

The mango festival he started at his lab has grown into a fundraiser for the Canadian world Education Foundation, a charity that supports the education of children of widows in India.  

Posted: Oct 1, 2019

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