The Hong Kong Standard reports that a Hong Kong Polytechnic University scientist has extracted a protein complex from the African tiger milk mushroom that he claims can help kill breast cancer cells.
Wong Ka-hing, associate director of the university’s Food Safety and Technology Research Centre was able to prepare “highly stable” selenium nanoparticles using a polysaccharide protein complex extracted from this variety of mushroom.
The article said that ‘a preliminary study found these nanoparticles may significantly inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells by apoptosis – or activating the biological signalling that makes a cell kill itself.’
It follows research from Dr. Shiuan Chen of the City of Hope Cancer Centre in Los Angeles who discovered that fresh mushrooms may have anti-tumour properties. Mushrooms contain Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which suppresses a natural substance in the body called aromatase. By blocking aromatase, physicians can reduce the levels of circulating estrogen in post-menopausal women. That is important because, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, high levels of estrogen are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
Monaghan Mushrooms Group Marketing Manager Stephen Allen said, ‘This is not evidence that mushrooms can help prevent or treat cancer but is another piece of evidence to add to the growing body of work that indicates the potential health benefits of mushrooms.’