Novel use for African mushroom found in cancer research

Dec 21, 2011 By Wilfred Lai
Credit: PolyU

A young scientist from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)'s Food Safety and Technology Research Centre (FSTRC) has successfully prepared highly stable selenium nanoparticles by using the polysaccharide-protein complex extracted from the African Tiger Milk mushroom.

The preliminary study discovered that these stabilized selenium nanoparticles can significantly inhibit the growth of cells by .

With this breakthrough, FSTRC Associate Director Dr Wong Ka-hing, who is also an Assistant Professor of PolyU's Department of Applied Biology and , has won the Young in the 2011 International Conference of Food Factors (ICoFF 2011) with the theme "Food for Wellbeing-from Function to Processing".

Selenium is a trace element which is essential for . The study of selenium nanoparticles has become a hot topic because of their excellent bio-availability, low toxicity and strong anti-cancer activity. However, nanoparticles would easily stick together, and their special properties would be lost once the aggregates exceed nano-size. That is why scientists around the world have been exploring ways to stabilize the nanoparticles.

Dr. Wong's award-winning study is entitled "Preparation of Highly Stable Selenium Nanoparticles with Anti-Cancer Activity under a Food Grade Redox System" – which means the ultimate products could be consumed as functional food or health products. The study is the first of its kind in terms of preparing highly stable selenium nanoparticles with the use of mushroom polysaccharide-protein complexes as the stabilizers. Apart from its potential as functional foods, the finding has also provided insights on using these novel nanoparticles as new drug for cancer chemoprevention.

In the next stage of cancer research, Dr. Wong would evaluate the anti-cancer activity of those stabilized selenium on small animals, and elucidate the underlying mechanism of their growth inhibition effects on the .

The polysaccharide-protein complex currently in use is extracted from the sclerotium of Tiger Milk mushroom. Dr. Wong would also further investigate whether its other developmental stages (e.g. fruiting body) could be used for this cancer research. PolyU has partnered with a mushroom farm to produce Tiger Milk mushrooms and support further research.

The ICoFF at which Dr. Wong received his award was organized by the Association of Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) International (Taiwan Section). This year more than 1,300 participants from 30 countries have attended the event, during which numerous international renowned scholars and experts were invited to give lectures on health promotion, diseases prevention and other health issues related to food.

Explore further: Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

Provided by Hong Kong Polytechnic University

4.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Taking additional selenium will not reduce cancer risk

May 11, 2011

Although some people believe that taking selenium can reduce a person's risk of cancer, a Cochrane Systematic Review of randomised controlled clinical trials found no protective effect against non-melanoma skin cancer or ...

Selenium may prevent high risk-bladder cancer

Dec 08, 2008

A study published in the December issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests that selenium, a trace mineral found in grains, nuts and meats, may aid in the pr ...

Safety of nanoparticles in food crops is still unclear

Jun 01, 2011

With the curtain about to rise on a much-anticipated new era of "nanoagriculture" — using nanotechnology to boost the productivity of plants for food, fuel, and other uses —scientists are reporting a huge gap in ...

Recommended for you

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

Apr 18, 2014

A significant breakthrough could revolutionize surgical practice and regenerative medicine. A team led by Ludwik Leibler from the Laboratoire Matière Molle et Chimie (CNRS/ESPCI Paris Tech) and Didier Letourneur ...

Physicists create new nanoparticle for cancer therapy

Apr 16, 2014

A University of Texas at Arlington physicist working to create a luminescent nanoparticle to use in security-related radiation detection may have instead happened upon an advance in photodynamic cancer therapy.

User comments : 0

More news stories

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...