Mushrooms Magical in Fighting Cancer?
Members of the research team that will be trying to tap medicinal benefits from mushrooms- photo courtesy UNBC
Prince George, B.C. – Local mushrooms are being studied at UNBC to see if they can become potential cancer treatments
Genome British Columbia has provided $52,000 in funding to allow a team of researchers, led by Biochemistry Professor Dr. Chow Lee, to search for and catalogue the properties of the different types of mushrooms in Northern B.C.
The University of Northern British Columbia has matched that funding to give the research team $104 thousand dollars.
“History has taught us that there are many useful medicinal compounds from mushrooms,” says Dr. Lee. “Yet, it is estimated that only 10 per cent of mushroom species on earth are known. This means that mushrooms are a major untapped source of new, potentially powerful and natural pharmaceutical products.”
Researchers harvest a variety of wild mushroom species found all across Northern BC and then extract specific mushroom compounds. Then tests will be done to see if the compounds have any beneficial cancer fighting properties. Specifically, they are looking for something that can either block the growth of a cancer cell, or stimulate the immune system to help the body fight the cancer.
The project brings together researches from UNBC’s Chemistry and Biochemistry programs, and the Ecosystem Science and Management Program.