An April press release from Cancer Research UK reports that an extract of the mushroom Phellinus linteus has been found to halt the growth of breast cancer cells in vitro.
Previous studies have also shown the species to be effective against prostate, skin, and lung cancer cells, but up until now nobody knew how it worked.
Researchers at Methodist Research Institute in Indianapolis appear to have shed some light on this problem.
With the conclusion of their latest study, a team led by Dr. Daniel Sliva found evidence that the extract augments the action of an enzyme known as AKT, which controls cell and blood vessel growth vital to the survival of cancer cells. The study was published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Phellinus linteus, which is commonly called Mesima in the West, has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other ancient systems of medicine. This study is exciting because it finally brings us to an understanding of why the mushroom works — prerequisite knowledge in order to conduct clinical research in modern Western medicine.The study involved observing breast cancer cells exhibiting different levels of invasiveness as they interacted with different concentrations of the extract. The extract was found to suppress growth of the cells under all conditions. Greater concentrations of extract for longer periods of time yielded the best results, and less invasive cells were more easily suppressed.
Overall, the results were encouraging. “We saw a number of positive results from our investigation on aggressive human breast cancer cells, including a lower rate of uncontrolled growth of new cancer cells, suppression of their aggressive behaviour and the formation of fewer blood vessels that feed cancer cells essential nutrients,” explained Dr. Sliva.
The researchers believe that dietary supplements containing the extract could help ward off potential cancers, and the research could eventually lead to the development of new drugs. “…We’re excited that we can begin to explain how this ancient medicine works by acting on specific molecules. We hope our study will encourage more researchers to explore the use of medicinal mushrooms for the treatment of cancer,” Sliva said.
Both the research team and Cancer Research UK, which publishes the British Journal of Cancer, maintain that further research is needed on humans and animals before any definite conclusions can be drawn.
About the author: Adam Miller is a student of life who has dedicated literally thousands of hours of personal research on top of formal institutional training in Dietetics to learn the secrets of achieving vibrant health and extended lifespan. His passion and dedication is in bringing the best ideas for self-empowerment through nutrition and nutraceuticals as well as alternative therapies, technology, and information to the public through various means.