Siyaram Pandey’s Kevin Couvillon Research Project on Anticancer Effects of Dandelion Root Extract, got another boost from the community yesterday when the India Canada Association presented a cheque for $5000 to Dr. Pandey during a ceremony in Essex Hall. The ICA, which has a long history of supporting community initiatives, raised the money at its annual fund-raising dinner in October, which featured India’s consul general to Toronto, Preeti Saran, as its guest of honour.
The project is named in honour of Kevin Couvillon, a 26-year-old musician and sound engineer, who died in November 2010 following a three-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia. His parents, Donna and Dave Couvillon, both UWindsor alumni and retired educators, first heard of Pandey when they read an article about a team of his students who discovered that a water-based formula they developed from dandelion roots was effective in killing commercially available lines of cancer cells. Since then, the couple has also donated a total of $40,000 to Pandey’s research, which was approved for human clinical trial in November.
Under the direction of Windsor Regional Cancer Centre oncologist Caroline Hamm, 30 local patients will be recruited for Phase 1 of the trial, which will be limited to patients with blood cancers or lymph node cancers and will only be tried on those who have already tried chemotherapy and exhausted all other options. These will be patients who are terminally ill with cancers that are drug-resistant.
“It is extremely generous of the community,” Pandey says of the donation. “I know this project in particular belongs to the community and is very strongly supported by people in Windsor and Essex County.”
Though in its earliest stages of testing, Pandey says findings have the potential to create huge change in the treatment cancer patients receive.
“With the support of the ICA and other groups and individuals who have shown interest in this research we can make great strides in how cancer is managed.”