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Science | Special Features

Extract from turkey tail mushroom can stop prostate cancer - Australian researchers

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

CANBERRA - An extract from a mushroom can stop the growth of prostate cancer, Australian researchers said on Wednesday.

According to Patrick Ling from the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Center in Queensland, conventional treatments, like chemotherapy and radiotherapy, targeted some cancer cells, but not stemcells, which initiate cancer and cause the disease to spread.

However, the scientists conducted a study finding that a compound called polysaccharopeptide (PSP), extracted from the turkey tail mushroom, can target prostate cancer stemcells and suppress tumor formation in trials on mice.

"People believe that the cancer stemcell is one of the major reasons why the cancer treatment is not working," he told Australia Associated Press on Wednesday.

"If you can come up with some treatments that can target those cancer stemcells you may actually be able to improve treatments.

"We find that this mushroom extract is very effective in targeting those cancer stemcells."

In a trial involving almost 20 mice carrying a gene to develop prostate cancer, scientists fed PSP to about half for 20 weeks while the others went without.

All of those eating the extract did not develop the cancer, the others did.

Ling said the findings support that PSP may be a potent preventative agent against prostate cancer, through targeting of the prostate cancer stem cell population.

The turkey tail mushroom is used in Asian soups to boost health, but Ling said there is no research to suggest that simply eating the vegetable can have the same effect as his research has found.

More tests will be done later this year.

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