Cancer which is one of the main fatal diseases worldwide. It is featured in that the tumor cells are unlimited growing out of control and its rapid growth needs lots of energy. Therefore, the scientists consider using the means of interrupting nutrition and energy supply of tumor cells to starve them.
The article of Chinese scientists which are published on the Nature - Cell Death and Disease in June, indicated that the proliferative activity of hepatoma cell can be significantly inhibited by using a triterpenoid component of Ganoderma leucocontextum, that is to say starving the tumor cells.
The Ganoderma mushrooms, a kind of rare and precious traditional Chinese medicine, always plays a role of elixir vitae in China, and is widely used as function food and traditional medicine in the Asian countries. The Ganoderma leucocontextum is a rare kind of Ganoderma mushroom growing in high and cold zone of Tibet, and its pharmacodynamics components are abundant. It is believed that the natural biomaterial of Ganoderma can play the anticancer effect.
How does the components from Ganoderma mushrooms play its roles?
"Cardiolipin" is the key component of the mitochondrial inner membrane of eukaryotic cells and associates strongly with the mitochondrial ADP/ATP carriers, which imports ADP into the mitochondrion and exports ATP. The change of cardiolipin may cause the variation of cell mitochondria. Thus, the cardiolipin is closely related to normal cell mitochondria and also closed with the mitochondria of tumor cell.
Figure:Ganoderma leucocontextum(Image by Prof. LIU Hongwei 's group)
Prof. LIU Hongwei at IMCAS separated a new triterpenoid - GL22 from the fruiting bodies of Ganoderma leucocontextum and worked with Prof. SUN Chaomin in the Qingdao Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences to elucidate its anticancer mechanism. GL22 is a potential natural product which can inhibit the fatty-acid binding proteins and cause the decrease of cardiolipin, and then result in the destroy of cell mitochondria, and finally cause death of tumor cells.
The marvelous compound in Ganoderma leucocontextum is used for "starving" the tumor cells through reducing the level of ATP which is survival for tumor cells.
In addition, researchers have more interesting findings: In the further experiments, GL22 in Ganoderma leucocontextum can not only inhibit the growth of hepatoma cell effectively, but also has no obvious toxic and side-effect to the organism , effectively reduce the impact on normal cells. This feature indicates excellent application prospect in the research and development of anti-hepatoma drugs.
Current research further proved the medicinal and economic value of Ganoderma leucocontextum.