A study by researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) Medical School at Houston suggest that an extract from Basidiomycete mushrooms was able to eradicate the human papillomavirus (HPV) from cervical cancer cells, according to a presentation at the Society of Gynecological Oncology 45th Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer in Tampa, Florida this weekend.
Researcher and lead author of the study, Dr. Judith A. Smith, PharmD from UTHealth discovered that an extract from mushrooms called active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) showed to have slowed the growth of tumors, both in-vitro and in-vivo in pre-clinical studies.
The study, which was started in 2008, showed the compound’s “potential to treat the HPV infection.”
In the study, according to a press release Sunday, cervical cancer cells were treated with active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) and incubated for 72 hours with sampling every 24 hours. The study was then repeated in two orthotopic mouse models, one HPV positive and other HPV negative control. The HPV expression was eradicated with once daily AHCC dosing for 90 days with durable response after 30 day observation off treatment.
"The results of this study were very encouraging," Dr. Smith noted.
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AHCC works as an immunotherapy, which is a treatment that uses a body's own immune system to help fight disease. Human and in-vivo studies have shown that AHCC increases the number and/or activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells, and cytokines, which enable the body to effectively respond to infections and block the proliferation of tumors.
AHCC is derived from several species of Basidiomycete mushrooms, including shiitake (Lentinus edodes), and has been used to treat cancer, high blood pressure, and other diseases in Japan for several decades. The supplement is available in the United States without a prescription.
AHCC has been studied before for it's ability to improve prognosis after curative resection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
In addition, older in vitro and animal studies demonstrated that AHCC exhibits some anticancer activities.
"AHCC is a common, well tolerated nutritional supplement that has been used for decades in Japan, I am very excited to be pursuing a nutritional approach to trying to find a treatment for HPV infections," said Dr. Smith, whose research is on drug development for gynecologic cancers and conditions with a specific focus on drug interactions/drug resistance and integration of herbal and nutritional supplements for treatment of cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers.
You can get HPV by having oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has the virus.
Human papillomavirus DNA has been detected in 99.7% of cervical cancer biopsies, yielding the largest causative relationship of any cancer.
HPV can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer).
A confirmatory pilot study in HPV+ women is underway at UTHealth Women's Center.
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