Mushroom extract, AHCC, helpful in treating HPV

by Deborah Mann Lake

HOUSTON – (Oct. 28, 2014) – A Japanese mushroom extract appears to show promise in the treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a pilot clinical trial at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.

The results were presented at the 11th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology in Houston today by principal investigator Judith A. Smith, Pharm.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the UTHealth Medical School.

Ten HPV-positive women were treated orally with the extract, AHCC (active hexose correlated compound), once daily for up to five months. Five achieved a negative-HPV test result – two with confirmed eradication after receiving AHCC for three months. One patient had confirmed eradication after taking AHCC for an additional two months off study for a total of five months of AHCC treatment. The remaining two women who achieved a negative-HPV test are continuing on the AHCC for two more months, when eradication status can be assessed.

Currently, there is no effective medicine or supplement to treat HPV, which is associated with more than 99 percent of cervical cancer cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several other cancers are related to HPV, including 95 percent of anal cancer, 60 percent of oropharyngeal, 65 percent of vaginal cancer, 50 percent of vulvar cancer and 35 percent of penile cancer.

AHCC is a readily available nutritional supplement that works to improve the innate immune system. Human and preclinical studies have shown that AHCC increases the number and/or activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells and cytokines, which can help the body fight off infections and block tumor growth.

“The results are very encouraging,” Smith said. “We were able to determine that at least three months of treatment is necessary but some need to extend treatment for up to five months. Since AHCC is a nutritional supplement with no known side effects and other immune modulating benefits, we will be planning on using six months of treatment in a phase II clinical study that is under review. This confirms our earlier preclinical research.”

Smith is director of UTHealth’s Women’s Health Integrative Medicine Research Team, which focuses on the safe and effective use of nutritional and herbal supplements with pharmacologic modalities as they relate to women’s health and cancer.

The above article is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Materials may be edited for content and length.

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