Drug from Mushroom May Help Treat Cancer

NOTTINGHAM, England, Dec. 29 (UPI) — A drug derived from a mushroom — cordycepin — may be used to treat some cancers, British researchers say.

Dr. Cornelia de Moor of The University of Nottingham in England and colleagues are investigating the drug originally extracted from a rare parasitic mushroom called cordyceps that grows on caterpillars.


“Our discovery will open up the possibility of investigating the range of different cancers that could be treated with cordycepin,” de Moor says in a statement.

“We have also developed a very effective method that can be used to test new, more efficient or more stable versions of the drug in the petri dish. This is a great advantage as it will allow us to rule out any non-runners before anyone considers testing them in animals.”

The researchers say low-dose cordycepin seems to inhibit the uncontrolled growth and division of cells and at high doses it also inhibits growth by stopping cells from sticking together. Both of these effects, they say, probably have the same underlying mechanism — interfering with the production of cell proteins.

The findings are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International


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