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Case Report­—Papaya Leaf/Dandelion Root Extracts May Be Effective in Treating a Deadly Type of Leukemia - 01/28/2019

Case Report­—Papaya Leaf/Dandelion Root Extracts May Be Effective in Treating a Deadly Type of Leukemia

Release Date: January 28, 2019

A case study presented by Leena T. Rahmat, M.D., at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital, supports previous evidence that certain over-the-counter natural health products may represent a powerful new treatment for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). Lloyd Damon, M.D., a blood cancer specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, is the co-author. 

CMML is an aggressive and generally treatment-resistant form of stem cell blood cancer with a median survival rate of 12 to 24 months from diagnosis. Due to a lack of research on CMML, the optimal treatment regimen remains unclear. While stem cell transplantation may cure the disease, many patients are not eligible for this treatment due to advanced age and/or multiple comorbidities.

Published in the journal Case Reports in Hematology, the Rahmat and Damon report on a 76-year-old male patient with multiple comorbidities, including prostate cancer, who was diagnosed with CMML in 2008. After successful treatment of his prostate cancer, the patient began a regimen of consuming papaya leaf extract (pictured left) in 2009. Later, in early 2015, he began taking dandelion root extract (pictured right) as well as a variety of other commercially-available supplements. There were no side effects or worsening of comorbidities attributable to the supplements. Currently, the patient continues to report feeling well and his hematological parameters remain consistently stable, according to Rahmat. 

“We know from other research that dandelion root extract and papaya leaf extract can kill certain types of cancer cells,” said Rahmat. “We hypothesize that this patient’s CMML disease has been favorably impacted by the use of these two natural health products. Natural health products may well provide a potential nontoxic therapeutic alternative to conventional system therapy in the treatment of CMML, and one that also provides an improved quality-of-life. This treatment approach certainly warrants further research.”

About Sibley Memorial Hospital
Sibley Memorial Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, in Northwest Washington, D.C., has a distinguished 127-year history of serving the community. As a not-for-profit, full-service, community hospital, Sibley offers medical, surgical, intensive care, obstetric, oncology, orthopaedic and skilled nursing inpatient services and a state-of-the-art 24-hour Emergency Department. Sibley’s campus, with its new patient tower, is also home to the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Grand Oaks, an assisted living residence, a medical building with physician offices as well as ambulatory surgery and imaging centers. Every day, Sibley fulfills its mission to deliver excellence and compassionate care – every person, every time. Learn more about Sibley at www.Sibley.org.

For the Media

Gary Stephenson
Senior Director, Media Relations & Public Affairs
202-660-6707
gstephe1@jhmi.edu