Originally published March 11 2013
Mushroom-soybean extract improves prostate cancer survival
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A natural extract made from soybeans and shiitake mushrooms seems to interfere with prostate cancer's ability to protect itself and may lengthen the life expectancy of patients with the most severe forms of the disease, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California-Davis, University of Texas-San Antonio, the VA Northern California Health Care System, and published in the journal Endocrine-Related Cancer.
Men with metastatic prostate cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body, are typically treated with androgen-deprivation therapy, which suppresses the body's production of male sex hormones such as testosterone. This is because prostate cancer typically uses these hormones as an energy source, and will die if deprived of them. Unfortunately, in some cases the cancer appears to be highly resistant to this treatment.
In a prior study, the same team of researchers found that inside the nucleus of prostate cancer cells, a protein called filamin A is attached to the cell's androgen receptor. When androgen levels drop, some prostate cancer cells eject the filamin A, which frees the cancer cell from its dependence on male sex hormones and makes it resistant to hormone deprivation treatment and therefore essentially incurable.
In the new study, conducted in both mice and in human prostate cancer cells, the researchers found that a natural mushroom-soybean extract called genistein-combined polysaccharide (GCP) actually prevents prostate cancer cells from ejecting filamin A. This means that when used in conjunction with hormone deprivation therapy, GCP could be used to kill prostate cancer in patients suffering from the most dangerous form of the disease. At the very least, GCP could be expected to improve the effectiveness of androgen deprivation treatment and extend the life of patients with metastatic prostate cancer.
Ideally, GCP could also reduce the length of time that patients need to be on hormone deprivation therapy, which can carry severe side effects. It might also reduce the need for other, even more dangerous treatments such as radiation, surgery and chemotherapy.
The study was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Cancer Institute.
"Greater than any drug today"GCP is a proprietary product marketed by the company Amino-Up of Sapporo, Japan. It is a natural extract that appears to be completely non-toxic, and is available for purchase in health food stores.
The researchers are now seeking funding to begin clinical trials of GCP on human prostate cancer patients. Because GCP is a natural extract rather than a pharmaceutical product, the testing and approval process should be able to proceed more quickly than with standard drugs.
"We should know within the first eight months or so of human clinical trials if GCP works to reduce PSA levels," researcher Ralph de Vere White said. "We want to see up to 75 percent of metastatic prostate cancer patients lower their PSA levels, and GCP holds promise of accomplishing this goal. If that happens, it would probably be a greater therapy than any drug today."
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