About This Project
The use of medicinal mushrooms can become an attractive proposition for people looking to support their immune system during their treatment for cancer. Guaranteeing the content of immune-active constituents is important for these consumers, yet quality concerns have been raised for products available on the internet. We will report on the quality of commercially available extracts of C. versicolor, seeking to build consensus on production and quality assurance methods needed.
Ask the ScientistsJoin The Discussion
What is the context of this research?
Medicinal mushrooms have been used to support cancer treatments in China and Japan since the late 1970s, on the basis of their immunomodulating activity mediated by fungal ß-Glucan. Meanwhile, they are not approved in the West, but we are seeing a dramatic increase in their availability, where they are sold on the internet as nutraceuticals.
There are some quality products out there, but studies have alerted us to low immunological activity of some products on the market, and others have alerted us to variance in other bioactive compounds within the same species. The actual concentration of active constituents can vary due to raw materials, their cultivation and quality assurance methods.
Realising the true properties of these mushrooms through quality products inspires our project.
What is the significance of this project?
Quality assurances on products, which guarantee the amounts of active ingredients, enables more effective and efficient use. It provides a more reliable source of products for practitioners and enhances reliability in future clinical trials, supporting a clinical development path for the product.
Market analysts estimate that medicinal mushrooms are seeing a 200-800% year-on-year growth depending on variety. The activity in Immuno-Oncology research, may also spur this trend along, with patients and physicians looking to products to support optimal immune function.
This project could be a valuable asset to both current and future practice. The aim is not to provide health advice, but to help practitioners navigate the market and, if needed, open a dialogue on best practices.
What are the goals of the project?
The primary objective is to catalogue the raw materials and cultivation methods used by participating suppliers across US and China, and directly compare that to ß-Glucan content achieved in the final product.
A secondary objective is to provide more information on the reliability of ß-Glucan tests through the use of a GMP-certified lab, using US-Pharmacopeia reference standards.
Exploratory Objectives include:
Perform structural elucidation analyses on a selection of samples to confirming that the detected polysaccharides were C.versicolor ß-Glucans.
Ascertain challenges and solutions to implementing quality assurance methods.
Provide a basis to validate the ß-glucan test as a testing standard in pharmacopoeia.
The majority of funding is sought for the method validation and testing of ß-glucan.
The testing will be done by a GMP-certified Lab with experience in quantitative determination of yeast ß-Glucan in food supplements.
Method validation is required to calibrate the procedure to the fungal matrix. Re-runs may be needed and will incur extra cost, which is factored into the budget. If more re-runs are needed, more budget will be spent on this to prioritise the primary objective of the study.
Any remaining budget, or additional funding, will be used towards cross validating the ß-Glucan test with structural elucidation analyses (objective 3) and travel to suppliers for qualitative assessment of procedures, thereby improving the rigour of analysis and impact of the results.
Thank you for your consideration and generosity to make this happen :)
A literature review and market analysis has been completed.
Suppliers and laboratories have been identified and some of the samples are in hand.
ResearchGate shows some of the steps taken, and how they have evolved to get here :)
=> Project deliverables will run quickly after funding is attained.
For more background on the mushroom used, we published a monograph of the C. versicolor on a website managed by The Natural Medicines Group within University College London.
Oct 12, 2018
Dec 07, 2018
Dec 07, 2018
(In parallel to fundraising) Attain further samples, engage relevant experts in the project design.
Dec 21, 2018
Method Validation and 1st round of B-Glucan Testing
Jan 11, 2019
Selected Samples sent for confirmation of B-Glucan content via quantitative structural elucidation tests
Meet the Team
I am a Biologist and nature lover at heart.
Drawn to the practical application of science, I went directly from my BSc in Biotech into the Clinical Research industry where I have worked for over 10 years. I was able to work on multiple therapy areas, learn about the dynamics of the healthcare system, and requirements of evidence-based medical practice. Overtime, I became a Clinical Project Manager and co-responsible in the design of trials with medical colleagues. My most recent work was supporting Immuno-Oncology programs, which gave rise to my interest in medicinal mushrooms and then the current project..
Outside of this career, I am a lifelong learner, curious mind and avid traveller. This has led me to study and practice Sustainable Development, Ecological Farming and Functional Nutrition amongst other things.
More recently, I attained a PgDip in Sustainable Development with University College London focused on Sustainable, Urban Agriculture and took modules in Natural Medicines within the School of Pharmacy (MSc Pending Dissertation).
All of these activities stem from my passion for delivering forward-thinking strategies to enhanced wellbeing in wider contexts.
Thank you for reading and considering this project :)!
Cover Photo Credit:
Julie Gomez @ Nature Chronicles blog.
Some of the data inspiring this project:
A meta-analysis of clinical stage data showing patient outcomes (% survival) for lung cancer patients taking extracts of C. versicolor, and for GI and other types.
More data is needed to current (RCT) standards of research. Sourcing of high quality material is key to the reliability of future research.
If you are seeking health advice, PLEASE speak with your healthcare practitioner.
Mushroom extracts are generally well tolerated, but they may interfere with other treatments. Also, all of the research has been done with mushroom extracts in combination with other conventional therapies; they have never have been, and should not be, considered a sole or replacement therapies for serious conditions.
& Very Brief Disclaimer.
The details in the proposal or associated articles do not constitute health advice in any way. The associations and statements made are not approved by the FDA or other regulatory authorities.
The contents of this article are under the copyright of the author and must not be re-distributed or used without explicit consent on its intended use.
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