Related Research

The following highlights a sample of the numerous research on Yunzhi, Coriolus Versicolor, Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) since its discovery in 1971.

The historic therapeutic benefits of Coriolus versicolor led Japanese researchers in 1971 to isolate an active substance from shelf mushroom or cultured mycelia. The substance was identified as a proteoglycan (also called a polysaccharopeptide) and the given name is polysaccharide-Krestin (PSK). PS-P (Polysaccharide-Peptide) was later isolated from a Chinese strain of Coriolus versicolor around 1983, when reputed fungi expert, Professor Yang Qingyao, first successfully identified the optimal COV-1 strain of Coriolus versicolor among 80 identified, isolated and collected strains. This strain is specially cultivated using a deep layer cultivation technology with submerged fermentation. Prof. Yang also made a technological breakthrough in the structural elucidation of polysaccharopeptide (PSP), which is an active ingredient of this mushroom.

Research, Clinic Trials and Awards

Clinic Trials and Research

Coriolus Versicolor PSP (Yunzhi PSP) has gone through thorough randomized double-blind clinical trials phase I (1990), phase II (1991 1992) and phase III (1996 1997) on the Chinese mainland, and again clinical trials in Hong Kong (1999). Coriolus Versicolor polysaccharopeptide were successfully approved by the Ministry of Health as "the first grade herb and the second grade clinical trial" in 1992. In June 1993, the Ministry of Health issued a new medicine certificate for PSP (Certificate No. 93) Health Medicine, Hygienic Medicine Certificate Z-32 ). In1996, PSP got the second prize of Scientific and Technological Advancements awarded by National Education Commission. Up to the present, PSP is the only Coriolus Versicolor medicine of national class in China approved by the Ministry of Health to be used for the treatment of tumors.

PSP has won international attention and recognition as a new type of biological response modifier (BRM) from the academic and medical circles. A number of theses on the topic of the application of PSP have appeared in the journals of various disciplines such as immunology, microbiology, Chinese herbal medicine, clinical pharmacology, pathology and oncology. Two international symposium for PSP had been convened in 1989 and 1993. PSP has been recorded as the only Coriolus Versicolor anti-cancerous polysaccharide of China by American National Cancer Institute.

Polysaccharide Peptide (PSP) has been shown to manifest immunomodulatory and anticancer properties in both pre-clinical experiments and clinical trials. It has been shown to reduce the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and has been used as an adjunct medical modality to conventional cancer treatment. Experiments suggest that PSP can boost the immune system and alleviate the symptoms of chemotherapy.

Experimental in-vitro and in-vivo studies have shown PSP inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells including P338 leukemia cells, S 180 cells, Ehrlich ascites, and stomach and lung cancer cells. It also inhibits the growth of some tumors such as the lymphatic tumor of human skin tissue cells. In addition, PSP affects the immune system of mice by stimulating the production of α\interferons, (plaque

Studies and Research on PSP

Research, Clinic Trials and Awards on PSP

forming cell) values. Human in-vivo experiments have also shown PSP can modulate the immune system by helping to prevent and partly eliminate the side effects of radiation and chemotherapeutic agents used by patients.

In vitro, PSP is effective for activating T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, monocytes, as well as promoting the proliferation and production of antibodies and various cytokines such as interleukin-2 and interleukin-6. Numerous in vivo studies have also revealed that PSP is capable of restoring certain depressed immunological responsiveness caused by tumor progression, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.4,5

Several studies reported that PSP possesses selective anti-cancer activity against certain cancer cells. PSP dose-dependently and time-dependently suppresses proliferation of human cancer cell lines. It showed that PSP markedly inhibited the growth of several human cancer cell lines including lung (SPC) cancer cell line S.6 Similar findings also indicate that PSP can act selectively in HL-60 leukemic cells by arresting the cell in the G-phase of the cell cycle and including apoptosis but not affecting normal lymphocytes.7 In vivo anti-tumor activity of PSP has also been extensively studied. Significant tumor size reduction was shown after prolonged administration of PSP in mice inoculated with lung adenocarcinoma (Lewis lung cancer).8

Over the last 20 years, numerous studies including clinical trials on identifying the active ingredient groups of polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and elucidating its immune health benefits in the body.

Phase I9 (21 cases, 1 hospital), Phase II10 (485 cases, 8 hospitals) and Phase III11 (650 cases, 14 hospitals) randomized controlled clinical trials showed that yunzhi polysaccharopeptide (PSP) supports normal immune function and benefits general well being. 9,10,11,12 These results were reflected in the increase in the activity of natural killer cells 10, increase in the production of interleukin-210,11 and increase in the ratio of helper T cells (CD4+) to cytotoxic T cells (CD8+)10,11 in comparison with the control group. The above are all immune cells and proteins responsible for guarding against and killing any foreign bodies and abnormal cells in the body. Their increase suggests yunzhi polysaccharopeptide (PSP) possesses immune supporting benefits and potentially can enhance our immune surveillance. Another clinical study carried out by clinical oncologists successfully showed yunzhi polysaccharopeptide (PSP) was able to maintain white blood cell counts in comparison with a control group,13 and, a recently published phase II (34 cases) 1 double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized clinical trial reported polysaccharopeptide (PSP) had significant improvement in white blood cells and neutrophil counts, serum Immunoglobin G and Immunoglobin M (two types of antibodies in the serum of blood)(p<0.05).14

A substantial number of preclinical and clinical studies continue to suggest PSP administration may be a useful adjunct to conventional cancer therapy. For cancer patients who view conventional medicine with ambivalence, practitioners can foster a more open and communicative relationship by demonstrating an objective understanding of both alternative and conventional approaches. Using alternative and complementary medicine treatments may be able to improve the quality of life for those suffering from cancer.

1. Kidd, P.M. The use of mushroom glucans and proteoglycans in cancer treatment. Altern. Med. Rev.5, 4-27 (2000).

2. Yang, Qing-yao (Ed.) Advanced Research in PSP, Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Association for Health Care (1999).

3. Li, X.Y. Advances in immunological studies in PSP. in Advanced research in PSP (ed. Yang, Q.Y.) 39-46 (Hong Kong Association of Healthcare, Hong Kong, 1999).

4. Liu, F. et al. Analysis of immunomodulating cytokines mRNAs in the mouse induced by mushroom polysaccharides. Life Sci.64, 1005-1011 (1999).

5. Gu, Z.L. et al. Effects of Coriolus versicolor polysaccharopeptide on production of IL-6 from human peripheral blood lymphocytes. in Advanced research in PSP (ed. Yang, Q.Y.) 99-103 (Hong Kong Association of Healthcare, Hong Kong, 1999).

6. Xu, L.Z. The antitumor and anti-virus activity of polysaccharopeptide (PSP). in Advanced research in PSP (ed. Yang, Q.Y.) 62-67 (Hong Kong Association of Healthcare, Hong Kong, 1999).

7. Hsieh, T.C. et al. Effects of extracts of Coriolus versicolor (I'm Yunity) on cell-cycle progression and expression of Interleukins-1, -6, and -8 in promyelocytic HL-60 leukemic cells and mitogenically stimulated and nonstimulated human lymphocytes. J. Altern. Complem. Med. 8, 591-602 (2002).

8. Kevin, K.W. et al. Coriolus versicolor: A medicinal mushroom with promising immunotherapeutic values. J. Clin. Pharamcol.42, 976-984 (2002).

9. Xu G.M. (1993) Phase I clinical test report of PSP capsules. In Proceedings of PSP International Symposium (Edited by Yang Q. Y. and Kwok C. Y.), pp. 179-182. Fudan University Press, Shanghai.

10. Liu J.X. and Zhou J.Y. (1993) Phase II clinical trial for PSP capsules. In Proceedings of PSP International Symposium (Edited by Yang Q.Y. and Kowk C.Y.), pp. 183-208. Fudan University Press, Shanghai.

11. Liu J.X. (1999) Phase III clinical trial for Yun Zhi polysaccharopeptide (PSP) capsules. In Advanced Research in PSP 1999 (Edited by Yang Q.Y.), pp. 295-303. The Hong Kong Association for Health Care Ltd., Hong Kong.

12. Xu G.M. (1993) The effect of PSP on improving immunity for gastric cancer patients. In Proceedings of PSP International Symposium (Edited by Yang Q. Y. and Kwok C. Y.), pp. 263-264. Fudan University Press, Shanghai.

13. Shiu WCT, Leung TWT, Tao M. A clinical study of PSP on peripheral blood counts during chemotherapy. Phytotherapy Research 1992; Vol 6: 217-218.

14. Tsang K.W., et al. Coriolus versicolor polysaccharide peptide slows progression of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Respiratory Medicine. 2003 Jun; 97(6):618-24.


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