Ganoderma lucidum has potential to treat prostate cancer

There is a new development in our fight against cancer. A study at University of Haifa showed promising result for prostate cancer treatment. The active components in Ganoderma Lucidum is found to suppress some mechanisms involved in prostate cancer progression.

The main action of this medicinal mushroom? To disrupt androgen receptor activity and restraint cancerous cells spreading.

For the past decades, the medicinal properties of various fungi have been studied by many scientists. One important fungi characteristic is its ability to fight cancer cell in several ways. However most research concentrated on how fungi affect our immunity.


A new study

In this research, Dr. Ben-Zion Zaidman studied how fungi fight cancer from within the cells. He is supervised by Prof. Eviatar Nevo and Prof. Solomon Wasser from Institute of Evolution (University of Haifa), and Dr. Jamal Mahajna from Migal Galilee Technology Center.

"Until now, researches were based on strengthening immune system with high-molecular-weight polysaccharides which function through specific receptors in cell membranes. Here, we concentrated our research on low-molecular-weight secondary metabolites which can penetrate the cells and act at molecular level from within the cell itself," explained Dr. Zaidman.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers found in Western countries. According to Dr. Zaidman, prostate cancer is controlled by androgen receptor especially at the early stages. Currently, all medications for prostate cancer treatment work by reducing androgens production or by interfering with their function via androgen receptor.


Positive results

This research started with 201 organic extracts from 68 types of fungi prepared with solvents such as ether, ethyl acetate and ethanol. They used these solvents to select molecules small enough to act from within the cells.

From the 201 extracts, 11 successfully deter androgen receptor activity by more than 40%. Further testing showed that 169 extracts can inhibit growth of cancer cell. In this study, 14 extracts were found to be active in inhibiting prostate cancer cells.

From these active fungi extracts, Ganoderma Lucidum were tested as the most effective in inhibiting androgen receptor and controlling vital development of cancerous cells. "The results of this research are particularly interesting from a commercial aspect. Potential possibilities exist to establish research and development of bioactive components from Ganoderma Lucidum that could yield an anti-prostate cancer drug," remarked Dr. Zaidman.

University of Haifa, 2007


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