New processes identified for killing cancer cells

May 26, 2014, University of Auckland

(Medical Xpress)—The cell processes used by a traditional Asian health food supplement to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells, have been discovered by a University of Auckland researcher.

The research by Masters student, Ben Kao, involved comparing the impact of different ethanol and water based extracts of Ganoderma lucidium on cell lines of , and identifying how this compound kills cancer and reduces inflammation.

Ganoderma is a genus of the polypore mushrooms which grow on wood and include about 80 species, many from tropical regions. They are often referred to as shelf mushrooms or bracket fungi.

Genes associated with cell proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis (the process of cell death), were found by Ben, to have significant changes in their expression levels after treatment with the extracts.

The mushroom, Ganoderma lucidium or Lingzhi as it is known in China (Reishi in Japan), is widely available in Asian countries and has been used for millennia in Chinese medicine to promote good health.

They are available in Asia in a variety of forms and strengths, from low-strength pills to high quality red mushroom extract. The strength of the Ganoderma product can depend on how it is extracted and treated. Claims often made about Ganoderma lucidium are that the product will boost the immune system, improve circulation, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, destroy tumours, and slow aging.

Research student, Ben Kao has had two scientific papers published recently on Ganoderma lucidium and its anti-cancer properties. The first published last year, was a literature review on the anti-cancer properties of Ganoderma lucidium – its active ingredients and pathways of activity.

This month, he has published a study comparing the gene expression profiles and pathway networks after treating prostate cancer cell lines with the different Ganoderma lucidium extracts.

"Ganoderma lucidium has been seen to have a growth inhibitory effect on prostate cancer, but most of the research has tested only one type of extract," says Ben. "For this study we compared four different extraction methods to see which is the most powerful and to see how it exerts its effects."

Two extracts were made using ethanol based extraction and two used water based extraction methods.

"The ethanol based extracts had the more direct effect on by inhibiting the cell cycle and were more powerful than water based extracts," says Ben. "For the water based extracts, the mechanism of action involved the immune and anti-inflammatory pathways within the cell."

The Ganoderma lucidium was shown to have a strong effect on limiting cell growth in the cancer cell lines and has no negative effect on normal .

This study was completed for Ben's Master's thesis in the Discipline of Nutrition and the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre at the University of Auckland, and supervised by ACSRC research fellow, Dr Karen Bishop. He has submitted a preliminary PhD proposal to continue with research on Ganoderma lucidium and this will focus on the impact of extracts in more advanced biological models.

Explore further: Study: Potatoes may aid cancer treatment

Related Stories

Study: Potatoes may aid cancer treatment

December 4, 2013
Potatoes are not usually thought of as a super food, but a Massey University researcher has found they may have cancer-fighting properties.

Anti-cancer traits found in Australian faba beans

October 11, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Anti-cancer properties have been found in extracts from Australian-grown faba beans, along with effects that may have implications for treating hypertension and maintaining healthy weight.

Scientists identify new mechanism of prostate cancer cell metabolism

March 22, 2012
Cancer cell metabolism may present a new target for therapy as scientists have uncovered a possible gene that leads to greater growth of prostate cancer cells.

Grape seed promise in fight against bowel cancer

February 13, 2014
University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that grape seed can aid the effectiveness of chemotherapy in killing colon cancer cells as well as reducing the chemotherapy's side effects.

Recommended for you

Dulling cancer therapy's double-edged sword

January 17, 2018
Researchers have discovered that killing cancer cells can actually have the unintended effect of fueling the proliferation of residual, living cancer cells, ultimately leading to aggressive tumor progression.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

T-cells engineered to outsmart tumors induce clinical responses in relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

January 16, 2018
WASHINGTON-(Jan. 16, 2018)-Tumors have come up with ingenious strategies that enable them to evade detection and destruction by the immune system. So, a research team that includes Children's National Health System clinician-researchers ...

Researchers identify new treatment target for melanoma

January 16, 2018
Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have identified a new therapeutic target for the treatment of melanoma. For decades, research has associated female sex and a history of previous ...

More evidence of link between severe gum disease and cancer risk

January 16, 2018
Data collected during a long-term health study provides additional evidence for a link between increased risk of cancer in individuals with advanced gum disease, according to a new collaborative study led by epidemiologists ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.