Researcher Collaborates with AOR Inc. to Develop Innovative Blood Cancer Treatment

A leading Calgary-based natural supplement formulator has announced that it has developed a groundbreaking natural product, in collaboration with a young Ontario researcher, which is showing promise in treating blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.

The product – a specially-formulated and processed dandelion root tea – is the brainchild of Dr. Pamela Ovadje, a 29-year-old Postdoctoral student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of Windsor. For her work, Dr. Ovadje will receive the prestigious Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation–Postdoctoral in Ottawa on November 24.

After validating the anti-cancer properties of the dandelion root extract in the Windsor lab of Dr. Siyaram Pandey, Dr. Ovadje is now collaborating with Advanced Orthomolecular Research Inc. (AOR Inc.) of Calgary to develop and test a large-scale, standardized version of the product, recently approved for clinical trials by Health Canada.

“One of AOR’s main roles in the dandelion root clinical trial has been to take what Dr. Ovadje has accomplished in the lab and develop a way to scale it up that will preserve the potency of the product for clinical trial use,” said AOR Research Associate Rachel Jacyszyn, who leads a team consisting of Dr. Dylan Silver, Dr. George Templeton, Natalie Johnson, and Eric Castillo.

The result is a freeze-dried dandelion tea powder that will be packaged in small sachets of 0.5 grams. Patients will dissolve the product into water and consume it as they would a cup of tea.

Co-ordinated by the Windsor Cancer Centre, the clinical trials are expected to begin by January 2016 and will study as many as 30 patients diagnosed with blood cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma.

“Collaboration with research partners, such as Mitacs, is an important aspect to our business as we aim to put innovative, research-based natural products into the hands of Canadians, often years ahead of mainstream acceptance,” said AOR Research Director Dr. Traj Nibber, noting that AOR’s formulations are designed with an overriding emphasis on scientific integrity.

“It’s extremely exciting to see the work of this young researcher move from discovery to real-world application,” added Alejandro Adem, Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director. “The over-arching goal of the Mitacs Accelerate program is to inspire innovation by partnering academia and industry and this is an excellent example of the potential of what we can accomplish together.”

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 15 years. Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, we build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. For more information on Mitacs, visit www.mitacs.ca.

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