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The Coriolus versicolor mushroom, known commonly as the Yunzhi mushroom, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. The compound in the mushroom that is believed to have immune-boosting properties is a compound known as a polysaccharopeptide, or PSP. In the past two decades, some studies have suggested that PSP may also have a tumor-fighting effect.
A particularly compelling study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine in May 2017 showed a great deal of promise in treating with PSP, in the specific case of an aggressive cancer of the spleen seen commonly in dogs, hemangiosarcoma. The current median survival time of dogs diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma with no treatment is 86 days.
Fifteen dogs that had been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma participated in the trial. Divided into three groups of five, each group received a different dose of PSP — 25, 50 or 100 mg/kg/day — of I’m-Yunity, a formulation of PSP that has been tested and vetted for quality control and consistency in its formulation. The owners were instructed to give their dog daily capsules of I’m-Yunity that were compounded by Penn pharmacists. Each month, the owners brought their dogs to Penn’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital for follow-up visits where researchers took blood samples and conducted ultrasounds to determine the extent that tumors developed, increased in size and/or spread to other organs and tissues.
The results of supplementation with I’m-Yunity was nothing short of remarkable. The biggest benefit was seen in the 100 mg/kg dosing group whose median survival time was 199 days, far surpassing the current median survival time of untreated hemangiosarcoma. Subsequently, researchers are now preparing further trials of I’m-Yunity in dogs with hemangiosarcoma to confirm and refine their results. One trial will compare I’m-Yunity to a placebo for owners who opt not to pursue chemotherapy in their pet and another will compare the compound to routine standard of care chemotherapy.
Depending on the results, veterinarians could eventually prescribe the compound for palliative treatment of hemangiosarcoma and potentially start looking at it’s use for other cancers. What’re more, there may be benefit in treating dog breeds that are especially genetically prone to hemangiosarcoma in a preventative fashion to help stave off the onset of disease.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.
Primary source for article: Compound Derived From a Mushroom Lengthens Survival Time in Dogs With Cancer, Penn Vet Study Finds