EVERYONE knows that mushrooms are a nutritious and low-calorie addition to a meal but now new research suggests they could also combat cancer.
An extract from a Japanese mushroom kills the sexually transmitted virus HPV that can cause cervical cancer.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common, and highly contagious, infection that affects skin and the moist membrane linings of the body, for example, in the cervix, mouth and throat.
More than three quarters of all women acquire the virus during their lives and some strains can cause cervical cancer.
But American research found the extract active hexose correlated compound (AHCC)- which is found in shiitake mushrooms- may play a role in preventing HPV-related cancers.
In a study using mice, AHCC led to the eradication of HPV within 90 days. It also decreased the rate of cervical tumour growth.
Associate professor, Dr. Judith Smith, of the University of Texas Health Science Center Medical School, said, “the results of this study were very encouraging. This study, initiated in 2008, shows that by itself AHCC has the potential to treat the HPV infection.”
AHCC works as an immunotherapy, which is a treatment that uses a body’s own immune system to help fight disease.
Human and lab studies have shown that AHCC increases the number and activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells, and cytokines, which enable the body to effectively respond to infections and block the proliferation of tumours.
HPV DNA has been detected in 99.7 per cent of cervical cancer biopsies, yielding the largest causative relationship of any cancer.
Several other types of cancer are also HPV related, including 95 per cent of anal cancers, 60 per cent of throat cancers, 65 per cent of vaginal cancers, 50 per cent of vulvar cancers and 35 per cent of penile cancers.
Smith said, “AHCC is a common, well tolerated nutritional supplement that has been used for decades in Japan. I am very excited to be pursuing a nutritional approach to trying to find a treatment for HPV infections.
“We had previously demonstrated an antiretroviral regimen that successfully eradicated the HPV infection but wanted to develop a more benign protocol, since these medications have a number of side effects.”
The findings were presented at the Society of Gynecological Oncology 45th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Tampa, Florida.
culled from The Guardian