Washington: International scientists claim they have found evidence that a medicinal mushroom used in Asia can completely suppress prostate tumours by targeting cancer stem cells.
A team led by the Queensland University of Technology found that the turkey tail mushroom was 100 per cent effective in suppressing prostate tumour development in laboratory mice during early trials, the `PLoS One` journal reported.
The compound, polysaccharopeptide (PSP), which is extracted from the turkey tail mushroom, was found to target prostate cancer stem cells and suppress tumour formation in mice, according to lead scientist Dr Patrick Ling.
Dr Ling said that the results could be an important step towards fighting the disease. "The findings are quite significant," he said.
"What we wanted to demonstrate was whether that compound could stop the development of prostate tumours in the first place. We found 100 per cent of this tumour prevented from developing with PSP. Importantly, we did not see any side effects from the treatment," he added.
During the research trial, which was done in collaboration with The University of Hong Kong and Provital Pvt Ltd, transgenic mice that developed prostate tumours were fed PSP for 20 weeks.
Dr Ling said no tumours were found in any of the mice fed PSP, whereas mice not given the treatment developed prostate tumours. He said the research suggested that PSP
treatment could completely inhibit prostate tumour formation.
"Our findings support that PSP may be a potent preventative agent against prostate cancer, possibly through targeting of the prostate cancer stem cell population," Ling
said, adding PSP was known to possess anti-cancer properties.
However, Dr Ling said it was the first time it had been demonstrated that PSP had anti-cancer stem cell effects.
Although turkey tail mushrooms had valuable health properties, Dr Ling said it would not be possible to get the same benefit his research showed from simply eating them.