U of Penn Vet School and Mushroom Study for Cancer

Sick Dog

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is conducting studies of mushrooms and their effect on Hemangiosarcoma. Researchers have discovered that treating hemangiosarcoma with a mushroom compound offered hope for longer survival times.

Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive cancer that doesn’t usually respond well to chemotherapy. It affects the blood vessels and the spleen. Dogs breeds more often affected by the disease appear to be German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.

The compound was found in the Coriolus versicolor mushroom which looks similar to a turkey’s tail. The Yunzhi mushroom as it is commonly named has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. The immune-boosting compound in the mushroom is called polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and is thought to have tumor-fighting properties.

Survival time for dogs in the trial and treated with PSP was extended significantly along with a better quality of life.

Further research and trials are on-going and the results could mean a better treatment for hemangiosarcoma and other cancers in humans as well as their canine companions.

September 2012

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