Mushroom helps cancer survival

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coriolus versicolorA CHINESE mushroom can help stomach cancer patients survive longer.

An analysis by Japanese researchers of eight studies involving 8000 patients over almost 20 years has found extract of the mushroom coriolus versicolor boosts the human immune system.

People have been using the mushroom in Asian countries since antiquity and it has become a prescription medication in Japan, said Professor Thomas Borody, director of Sydney's PSK Information Foundation and the Centre for Digestive Diseases.

"It entered the medication area in Asia and we didn't know about it, maybe because there were no patents on it," said Prof Borody, who recommends his patients take up to six grams of PSK a day.

The extract, known as polysaccharide K or PSK, has been available in capsule form for around 25 years but no comprehensive analysis of survival rates had been available until now.

Prof Borody said the Japanese researchers' analysis found that PSK used by post-surgery patients in conjunction with chemotherapy was better than using chemotherapy alone.

"When we look at the publications that have been carried out by independent investigators, it really makes a major difference in survival," he said.

"This polysaccharide has very, very, few side effects and yet when taken long term, it seems to work as an anti-tumour agent via immunological stimulation."

The Japanese researchers will publish their findings in the next edition of the journal Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy.

Stomach cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths world-wide, second only to lung cancer.

The death rate from stomach cancer was around 90 per cent within five years of diagnosis but most deaths occurred within two years, Prof Borody said.

PSK is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and is available on-line in capsule form.

source - The Australian news 

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