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Fungi and apoptosis Essay

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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and according to the WHO it accounted for approximately 7.6 million deaths in 2008 (WHO, 2011). The most prevalent forms of cancer present in the United States are breast and prostate cancer (American Cancer Society, 2011). Over the past decade anticancer drugs and cancer treatment have made inadequate progress. However today, there is a greater understanding of the molecular basis behind the formations of tumorigenesis. This knowledge combined with the molecular diversity of natural compounds such as those found in mushrooms have paved the way for the discovery of new drugs. These drugs have the ability to target the abnormal molecular and biochemical signals that lead up to cancer. Research has shown that oriental medicine for centuries has incorporated the use of medicinal mushrooms for clinical treatment. Over the past couple of years, scientific and medical studies in Japan, China, Korea, and more recently the United States have demonstrated the powerful and unique properties of mushroom-extracted compounds for the prevention and treatment of cancer (Zaidman et. al, 2005).
A recent study conducted in Australia showed that the fungus Coriolus versicolor, also known as English turkey tail possessed a rare compound which prevented prostate tumors from developing in animals. Coriolus versicolor was shown to secrete a natural chemical known as polysaccharopeptide or PSP (Ling & Bavas, 2011). Which is a complex sugar molecule attached to a chain of amino acids. The strength of this compound lies in its ability to enhance the helper T cells, which play a crucial role in strengthening the immune system. Turkey tail mushroom has been the focus of numerous controlled clinic...


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...o fungus for cancer treatment. The world today. [audio podcast]. Retrieved from

Ng, T. B.1998. A review of research on the protein-bound polysaccharide (polysaccharopeptide, psp) from the mushroom coriolus versicolor (basidiomycetes: polyporaceae) Gen. Pharmac., 30(1), 1-4.

Wan, J.P., Sit, W., & Louie, J.C. (2008), polysaccharopeptide enhances the anticancer activity of doxorubicin and etoposide onhuman breast cancer cells zr-75-30. International journal of oncology 32: 689-699.

Who(2011). Cancer fact sheet n°297. Retrieved from world health organization (who) website:

Zaidman, B., Yassin, M., Mahajna, J., Wasser, S.P., 2005. Medicinal mushroom modulators of molecular targets as cancer therapeutics. Appl microbiol biotechnol 67: 453–468.


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