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Mushroom Extract could help treat HPV

Update Date: Oct 28, 2014 12:43 PM EDT

Results from an early clinical trial suggest that an extract taken from a Japanese mushroom can eliminate the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted illness (STI) within the United States. Some strains of the virus can lead to cervical cancer, oral and throat cancer, and genital warts.

In this study, the researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School recruited 10 women who tested positive for HPV. They were all treated with the mushroom extract, AHCC (active hexose correlated compound). The women had to take the extract orally once a day for up to six months.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that half of the group tested negative for HPV. HPV strains that do not lead to serious health conditions can resolve on their own. Currently, there are no effective treatments that can eradicate HPV.

"The results are very encouraging," lead investigator, Judith A. Smith, Pharm.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the UTHealth Medical School, said according to the press release. "We were able to determine that at least three months of treatment is necessary but some need to extend that to six months. Since AHCC is a nutritional supplement with no side effects and other immune modulating benefits, we will be planning on using six months of treatment in our phase II clinical study to have consistent study treatment plan. This confirms our earlier preclinical research."

The researchers reported that AHCC can be effective in combating HPV because it increases the number of Natural Killer cells, dendetiric cells and cytokines that are responsible for fighting off infections and preventing the growth of tumors. AHCC can also boost these cells' activity levels, making them more effective at eliminating HPV.

The study was presented at the 11th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology in Houston, TX.

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