Cordyceps mushroom may be an effective cancer treatment, says new research

March 26, 2010

     Researchers from the University of Nottingham have found that a rare, wild mushroom called Cordyceps sinensis is an effective treatment for cancer. Commonly used in Chinese medicine and throughout regions of Asia and India, Cordyceps inhibits the growth, division, and proliferation of cancer cells in the body.
     Cordyceps was originally formulated into a cancer drug called cordycepin back in the 1950s. Though the drug version was ultimately found to be ineffective because of rapid degradation inside the body soon after administration, the active components from the mushroom continue to be effective cancer fighters.
     Depending upon dosage levels, Cordyceps mushroom extracts directly impact the process of cell protein development, impeding the production of the mRNA molecules that create them: mRNA is the workforce that takes orders from our genes (the blueprint) for constructing things in the body. At high doses, Cordyceps inhibits protein development directly, essentially eliminating the ability of cancer cells to function and survive.
     Since the study focused on the pharmaceutical drug formulation derived from Cordyceps, called cordycepin, lead scientist Dr. Cornelia de Moor and her team specifically sought ways to improve the effectiveness of that particular drug. Their only solution was to suggest giving another drug alongside cordycepin in order to prevent it from degrading in the body. The team warned that the other drug causes serious side effects which may discourage its use.
     Though the research focused primarily on cordycepin, it ultimately revealed the powerful effects of Cordyceps in preventing and treating cancer. The study is set to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and its authors hope that the findings will spark further research into the potential uses for Cordyceps as a cancer treatment.