Results showed that immune function was enhanced in the women who took daily doses of turkey tail in pill form. (The actual product used in the study was Host Defense Turkey Tail mushroom from Fungi Perfecti.) The researchers reported that the improved immune response was dose dependent and that none of the subjects suffered any adverse effects. The findings were reported in November, 2010, at the International Conference of the Society of Integrative Oncology in New York.
We don't know exactly how the turkey tail mushroom product used in this trial worked to boost immunity. Paul Stamets, director of research and founder of Fungi Perfecti, said that one theory holds that the mushroom improves the ability of the immune system's natural killer cells to attack cancer cells. The next phase of this ongoing study will be to evaluate the effects of this improved immunity on patient survival.
The findings so far are very good news, just what physicians who treat cancer have been looking for - a non-toxic therapy to boost immune function, which is typically depressed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. I have long recommended medicinal mushrooms to strengthen the body's defenses in persons with cancer.-- Dr. Andrew Weil
nswer (Published 4/1/2011)
POWERFUL REPORT ON TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOM FROM BASTYR UNIVERSITY
ARTICLE BY PAUL STAMETS IN HUFFINGTON POST ON TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOMS
A promising clinical study shows that the turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) improves the immune systems of breast cancer patients. The multiyear study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), tracked whether or not turkey tails could positively affect the immune system of patients rebound after they ended their radiation therapy.
Immunity -- as measured by the number of lymphocyte cells and natural killer cell activity -- usually declines dramatically after radiotherapy. Natural killer (NK) cells protect us from tumors and viruses. Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Bastyr University Research Institute hypothesized that breast cancer patients' health can be improved after radiation treatment if NK cell counts increased quickly to attack remaining cancerous cells.
The study titled "Phase I Clinical Trial of Trametes versicolor in Women with Breast Cancer," recently published in the ISRN Oncology Journal, shows that turkey tail mushrooms can augment conventional therapies for treating breast cancer by increasing NK and CD8+T cell activity. This study suggests that turkey tail mushrooms are an effective adjunct to conventional chemotherapeutic medicines and radiation therapy. The authors concluded:
... research by our center continues to indicate that Trametes versicolor represents a novel immune therapy with significant applications in cancer treatment ... The CD8+ T cell counts over the 9-week dose escalation study were enhanced in the 9 gm Tv dose cohort compared to both the 3 g or 6 g group. One-way ANOVA was used to analyze the overall difference between dosage groups over the treatment period (2-4-6 weeks). It showed the statistically significant increase in the CD8+ cytotoxic T cells for the 9 g group compared to both the 3 g and 6 g group (F(2, 6) = 42.04, P = 0.0003).