Can Japanese Mushroom Extract Treat HPV?
A new study by researchers from the Texas Health Science Center in Houston suggests that an extract from a Japanese mushroom has the potential to destroy the human papillomavirus, the leading cause of cervical cancer.
Principal investigator Judith A. Smith, an associate professor in the University’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, recently presented the team’s findings at the 11th International Society of Integrative Oncology Conference in Houston, Texas.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are the most commonly transmitted sexual infections in the United States. The virus is the main cause of cervical cancer in women, and its two types – HPV 16 and HPV 18 – account for about 70% of all cases.
HPV is also responsible for approximately 95% of anal cancers, 65% of vaginal cancers, 60% of oropharyngeal cancers, 50% of vulvar cancers, and 35% of penile cancers.
Although there are two HPV vaccines available to help prevent women from becoming infected, Smith and colleagues note that there is no effective treatment for the virus.
Therefore, the team set out to evaluate the effects of active hexose-related compound (AHCC) against HPV. AHCC is a substance produced by the shiitake mushroom, also called a Japanese mushroom native to Asia.
AHCC is already available as a dietary supplement due to its immune-boosting properties. However, previous studies have suggested that the compound may improve the growth and function of cells, which prevents infections and inhibits tumor growth.
To arrive at the findings, Smith and colleagues enrolled 10 women who tested positive for HPV infection in their study. Once daily for up to 6 months, each woman received an oral formulation of AHCC.
Five of these women tested negative for HPV infection after 3 months of AHCC use. Among three of the participants, complete elimination of HPV was confirmed after AHCC use ended. The remaining two women had to take AHCC for 6 months to see results.
The team’s findings are “very encouraging,” according to Smith. “We were able to determine that at least 3 months of treatment is necessary, but some need to extend it to 6 months,” he says.
“Because AHCC is a nutritional supplement with no side effects and other immune-modulating benefits, having a consistent study treatment plan will be planning for use of 6 months of therapy in our phase 2 clinical trial. This confirms our previous preclinical research. “
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly all men and women will get HPV at some point in their lives, but most are unaware of it.
MedicalNewsToday, Could a Japanese mushroom extract eradicate HPV?, 2014