Animal cells treated with Shiitake
extract did not show cell death
after infection with influenza virus.

Untreated cells 48 hrs after infection
with influenza virus - cell death.

Clinical trials of the anti-cancer mushroom, immune enhancing and other medicinal properties

R&D is a substantial activity of our business and is also fundamental to our success. We undertake research and clinical trials of anti-cancer, immune enhancing and other medicinal properties of the Shiitake and other mushrooms. We have collaborated with various tertiary institutions for joint research in the areas of fungi findings. In addition, recent studies have shown that Shiitake contains bioactive components that boost the human immune system, are active against cancer, heart disease, the HIV virus and help to lower cholesterol.

We specialize in the study of Shiitake mushrooms, otherwise known as the Chinese Black Mushrooms. Shiitake is the second most commonly produced mushroom in the world according to S.T. Chang in Mushroom Biology (1993). Shiitake are gourmet mushrooms which are appreciated for heir medicinal values. They contain many nutritional values like protein (26% dry weight), lipids (primarily linoleic acid), carbohydrate, fiber, minerals, vitamins B-1, B-2, C, ergosterol and the D provitamin. In addition,recent studies have shown that Shiitake contain medicinal values that are believed to help boost the human immune system, are active against cancer and help to lower cholesterol.

American studies have shown that the plysaccharides in Shiitake are helpful in boosting the human immune system. The active compounds that have been isolated from their immunomodulatory, lipid-lowering, and antimicrobial properties include lentinan, Lentinula edolodes mycelium (‘LEM’), KS-2, ergosterol and eritadenine. Lentinan derived from Shiitake polysaccharide is an approved drug in Japan and is commercially available for clinical use.

Lentinan increases post-operative survival rates for cancer patients. It has also been shown that lentinan prevents further metastasis (spreading). However, it does not completely eradicate cancer in humans. In addition, lentinan have also been shown to exhibit anti-tumor properties. ‘Research on Medicinal Properties of Shiitake’

In the United States, lentinan is also used by patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is also believed that lentinan can help to fight against the HIV virus. Studies have shown that the lentinan appears to block the entrance of the HIV Virus into cells by affecting the cell’s receptors. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of lentinan for clinical trials related to AIDS/HIV.

In 1990, we collaborated with the department of Bioscience & Biotechnology of the University of Strathclyde to study the effect of growing Shiitake mycelia in fermenter culture. A suitable medium has been found which will have yield high biomass concentration, and the physiological parameters for fermenter culture have been worked out. Bioactive polysaccharides (ß glucan) extracted from fermentation media, the mycelia and mushrooms were tested to study the effectiveness of anti-body IG stimulation in mice. The results show the greatest stimulation of anti body production occurred when the mice were injected with polysaccharides extracted from the fermenter media. In all cases where ß glucan were used, the stimulation of anti-body production was considerable.

Since 1990, the Company has also collaborated with the Department of Microbiology, National University of Singapore in the extraction of bioactive components from the Shiitake mushrooms. A mycoviral fraction (polyethylene glycol extractable) and a polysaccharide fraction (ß glucan) have been demonstrated to be anti-tumor in mice. Tumor inhibition of up to 95% was demonstrated for the ß glucan fraction. Increase in production of interferon (gamma) IFNy, Interleukin-2 (IL-2L) and tumor neurosis factor-alpha (TNF-) was also observed in these studies demonstrating the body’s immune system response had been activated.

Anti-cancer trials
We have initiated clinical trials of the anti-cancer properties of lentinan on cancer patients. Lentinan has shown anti-tumor properties. The studies are to determine the optimal biological dose of oral lentinan in patients with refractory solid cancer, the evaluation of the toxicity profile of oral lentinan and the immune stimulatory function of various doses of oral lentinan.

The studies of are collaboration between our subsidiary, MycoPharma, the Oncology Department and the Department of Microbiology of the National University of Singapore and PharmaLinks and alliance of biomedical and pharmaceutical capabilities of the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. The anti-cancer trials will also involve the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit of the University of Guelph, Canada.

Immune Enhancing Trials
We are also looking into the study of the effect of Shiitake on the immune competence of healthy humans. Discussions with the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit, University of Guelph, and Canada have been initiated and a proposal has been worked out for trials to assess the competence of humans after eating Shiitake. The objective is to measure the effect of Shiitake consumption on certain immune function parameters e.g. levels of interferon (IFNß & IFN), interleukins (IL-1, IL-6), and Tumor necrosis factor (TNF). If these levels are increased the immune system will be enhanced.

Cholesterol Lowering Trials
We are currently in discussions with the National University of Singapore, the Royal Infirmary UK and the Toronto Hospital, Canada, on the proposal to study the effect of Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms on the lipid content of humans.

The positive finding of each one of these three research projects once publicized may impact on the sales of not only the fresh mushroom but also our biomedical, nutraceuticals and functional food products. Results of such studies will be published in international scientific journals and reports in the conferences will publicize the awareness of the medicinal mushroom studies. Press conferences will be organized to release certain measurable results. Reporters and editors will be invited to attend such conferences to enable them to publish the results in the mass media. All this will be coupled with our products to translate into increased sales of not only mushrooms but also our nutraceuticals and functional foods.