An exotic mushroom could help in the fight against cancer, it emerged yesterday.
Tests show extracts from Phellinus linteus, a yellow tropical fungus, can combat breast, prostate, skin and lung cancers. It is thought the mushroom, a mainstay of Oriental medicine since ancient times, stops blood vessels from growing and feeding tumours. Study of the fungus, which grows on the bark of dead mulberry trees, could lead to the development of new anti-cancer drugs.
Alternatively, the extract itself may be used to treat patients. Dietary supplements could even help ward off the cancer in healthy individuals, the U.S. researchers believe.
Scientists from the Methodist Research Institute in Indianapolis showed that a powdered extract of the mushroom can halt the growth of breast cancer cells. Experiments suggest it does this by blocking an enzyme involved in the development of the blood vessels needed to nourish the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Lead researcher Dr Daniel Sliva said: "We saw a number of positive results from our investigation of aggressive human breast cancer cells, including a lower rate of uncontrolled growth of new cancer cells, suppression of their aggressive behaviour and the formation of fewer blood vessels that feed cancer cells' essential nutrients."
Previous studies have shown the mushroom is also effective against prostate, lung and skin cancers.
Source - Daily Mail