Lingzhi can fight prostate cancer



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December 15, 2007  
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lingzhi, reishiCM NEWS, AFP – Israeli scientists claim that a wild mushroom, used in traditional Chinese medicine for a century, could treat prostate cancer, the University of Haifa said.

Researchers at the university in northern Israel said they found molecules in the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom, commonly known as the reishi in Japanese or lingzhi in Chinese (see CM NEWS glossary), which help suppress some mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer.

Lingzhi has been proven in the lab to have medicinal value. Lingzhi has been shown to have an effect on . Together with a special TCM formula, lingzhi can help sooth. Yet, it also seems to be able to slow the progress of disease.

The compounds identified in lingzhi were found help suppress some of the mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer. They disrupt the activity of androgen receptors and impede the proliferation of cancerous cells.

According to the researcher, prostate cancer – one of the most common cancers among men in the West – is controlled by the androgen receptor, especially in the initial stages of development of the disease. Therefore, all medications currently used to treat prostate cancer work to reduce the production of androgens or to interfere with their function via the androgen receptor.

What is the relationship between androgen receptor and prostate cancer? The normal development and maintenance of the prostate is dependent on androgen acting through the androgen receptor (AR). AR remains important in the development and progression of prostate cancer.

AR expression is maintained throughout prostate cancer progression, and the majority of androgen-independent or hormone refractory prostate cancers express AR. Mutation of AR, especially mutations that result in a relaxation of AR ligand specificity, may contribute to the progression of prostate cancer and the failure of endocrine therapy by allowing AR transcriptional activation in response to antiandrogens or other endogenous hormones.

Similarly, alterations in the relative expression of AR coregulators have been found to occur with prostate cancer progression and may contribute to differences in AR ligand specificity or transcriptional activity.

Prostate cancer progression is also associated with increased growth factor production and an altered response to growth factors by prostate cancer cells. The kinase signal transduction cascades initiated by mitogenic growth factors modulate the transcriptional activity of AR and the interaction between AR and AR coactivators.

The inhibition of AR activity through mechanisms in addition to androgen ablation, such as modulation of signal transduction pathways, may delay prostate cancer progression.

In the first stage of this research, 201 organic extracts from 68 types of fungi were produced with solvents such as ether, ethyl acetate and ethanol. These solvents are used to select molecules that are small enough to act from within human cells. Of the 201 extracts, 11 were found to deter androgen receptor activity by more than 40 percent. Later, 169 extracts were tested for cancer cell growth inhibition. In this study, 14 extracts were found to be active in inhibiting prostate cancer cells.

The active extracts from lingzhi were the most effective in inhibiting the function of the androgen receptor and controlling vital development of cancerous cells.

“We already knew the mushroom could impede the development of cancer by affecting the immune system. The in-vitro trials we have done show that it attacks the cancer cells directly,” chief researcher Ben Zion Zaidman told AFP.

“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,” Zaidman said.

He said that the research carried out to date was only in Petri dishes. The research still has to be tested on animals.

Lingzhi is found only in remote, wild areas, preferring a habitat of rotting plum tree trunks, sometimes oak trees, in heavily forested mountain areas.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among men, with more than 543,000 cases diagnosed worldwide each year.

More info about lingzhi here.

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