RandyW Posted August 1, 2006 Share Posted August 1, 2006 Exotic Mushroom New Weapon In Cancer Fight Tuesday, 1st August 2006, 17:58 Category: Healthy Living -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An exotic mushroom known as "the elixir of long life" could be a secret weapon in the fight against cancer, new research shows. Scientists found extracts of the medicinal fungi called Phellinus linteus boosts the effects of a particular anti cancer drug. Researchers based at the Boston University School of Medicine in the USA studied extracts of Phellinus linteus They tested its effects on prostate cancer cells and found that when it was combined with the common chemotherapy treatment doxorubicin it increased the number of prostate cancer cells killed by the drug. The rare mushroom is known as "Song gen" in China, "Sang-hwang" in Korea and "Mesimakobu" in Japan and can occasionally be found on wild mulberry trees that have grown for many decades in deep forests. Its medicinal properties in treating illnesses have been well known in oriental medicine since ancient times. An old Korean saying states that if you are able to find a yellow lump that grows on a mulberry tree, then you can bring a dying person back to life. The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, raise the possibility a constituent of these mushrooms could one day be used in combination with existing chemotherapy to boost the effectiveness of treatment for some cancer patients. It may also mean lower doses of chemotherapy would be required to achieve the same response. Lead researcher Dr Chang-Yan Chen, of the Boston University School of Medicine in the USA, said: "This species of mushroom has been reported to have some degree of activity in cancer patients. "Our aim was to study what effect, if any, extracts of Phellinus linteus have, but we also need to know precisely how it produces these effects. "Only when we have all this information will we be able to make full, safe and effective use of these mushroom extracts in people." The laboratory studies showed low doses of doxorubicin or mushroom extract alone could not kill prostate cancer cells. Higher doses of the drug did kill them, but combining a low dose of doxorubicin with mushroom extract killed even more cancer cells, and did not affect healthy cells. The researchers could not be sure of how the mushroom extract, provided by Dr Sung-Hoon Kim of Kyung Hee University, South Korea, produced its effect, although they have learned more about its activity in cells. Dr Richard Sullivan, director of clinical programmes at Cancer Research UK, which owns the British Journal of Cancer, said: "Many important drugs have been developed from natural sources, including the anticancer drug Taxol, derived from yew trees. Fungi contributed in the development of penicillin and the migraine drug ergotamine. "But compounds from natural products cannot be assumed to be safe. Rigorous scientific studies are required to understand the full range of effects they produce. "There was evidence that extracts of Phellinus linteus slowed tumour progression. Now they have shown promise in combination with one type of chemotherapy drug, but it is still too early to say whether it will be successful in the long run." The mushroom has previously been proven to have anti carcinogenic effects by boosting the human immune system. Clinical tests performed in Korea, as well as other Asian and European countries show the extracts are highly effective in treatment and preventive treatment of liver cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, and other cancers, as well as AIDS, diabetes, high blood pressure and loss of energy. More than a hundred edible exotic mushroom species are used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to form remedies for a wide variety of ailments. They are often taken as powdered concentrates or extracts in hot water drinks. But while there is evidence that extracts of rare mushrooms such as shiitake, enoke and oyster may be beneficial to health, the humble British button or flat mushroom is likely to possess none of these abilities Copyright © 2006 National News +44(0)207 684 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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