Active compounds in fungi protect against prostate cancer

December 13th, 2007 - 5:35 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 13(ANI): Researchers at the University of Haifa have found that molecules in common fungus Ganoderma lucidum helps in restraining the growth of prostate cancer.

One of the important characteristics of fungi is the ability to fight cancer in a number of ways.

The research conducted by Dr. Ben-Zion Zaidman, under the direction of Prof. Eviatar Nevo and Prof. Solomon Wasser from the Institute of Evolution at the University of Haifa, and Dr. Jamal Mahajna from the Migal Galilee Technology Centre revealed that Ganoderma lucidum is most effective to hold back development of cancerous cells.

The researchers examined how fungi fights cancer from within cells and how would it affect the immune system.

Up to now, research has been based on enhancing the immune system with high-molecular-weight polysaccharides that act through specific receptors in cell membranes, said Dr. Zaidman

We concentrated our research on low-molecular-weight secondary metabolites that can penetrate the cells and act at the molecular level from within the cell itself,” he added.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers found among men in the Western World and is controlled by the androgen receptor, especially at the initial stages of development of the disease.

He said that the current medications to treat prostate cancer reduce the production of androgens or interfere with their function through the androgen receptor.

The researchers studied 201 organic extracts from 68 types of fungi with solvents like ether, ethyl acetate and ethanol.

The findings revealed out of 201 extracts, 11 were found to avert the androgen receptor activity by more than 40 percent.

Further, 169 extracts were tested for cancer cell growth inhibition and 14 were found to be active in restraining prostate cancer cells.

“The results of this research are particularly interesting from a commercial aspect. Potential possibilities exist to establish research and development of bioactive metabolites from Ganoderma lucidum that could yield an anti-prostate cancer drug,” said Dr. Zaidman. (ANI)

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