Tags: fungus | cancer | fighter

Fungus Found to Combat Cancer

Thursday, 06 Dec 2012 11:50 AM

University of Tennessee researchers have found a common fungus contains potent cancer-fighting properties that might be harnessed to boost the body’s natural defenses to combat the disease.
The discovery by a team of UT biomedical engineers indicates the fungus — known as arthrobotrys oligospora — produces tiny “nanoparticles” that can stimulate the immune system and kill tumors.
"This study could be the entrance into a gold mine of new materials to treat cancers," said Mingjun Zhang, a bioengineering professor who headed the team that made the finding, reported in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
"Understanding how these nanostructures are formed in the natural systems will also provide templates for the synthesis of a future generation of engineered nanostructures for biomedical applications."
Zhang called the finding “the first step forward” in developing natural therapeutics for cancer treatment and “demonstrates the importance of looking to nature for innovation in disease treatment."
Specifically, researchers found the fungus secretes highly uniform nanoparticles that act as a stimulant for cells in the immune system. Lab studies also found they have potential as an antitumor agent and can kill tumor cells.
Zhang noted many organisms in nature have developed novel ways of fighting diseases, and offer “rich mechanisms for curing them as a result of evolution.”
The research was funded by the Biochemistry Program in the Life Sciences Division of the U.S. Army Research Office.

© HealthDay

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A common fungus contains potent cancer-fighting properties that could be used to boost the body’s natural defenses.
Thursday, 06 Dec 2012 11:50 AM
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