Mushroom Compound Offers Hope for Cancer in Dogs
Jeff Gillman and his German shepherd-husky mix dog Reuben have been with each other for 12 years, and at this point a fatal blood cancer threatens to split them.
“I got him the summer after my freshman year in college and I was traveling on the West Coast bumming around hitchhiking,” explained the now 31-year-old lawyer from Philadelphia. “He was given to me at a farmer’s market in Santa Cruz. This dog was just too much to pass up. He’s my oldest and best friend.”
Thus when Reuben was clinically diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen, an extreme and invasive cancer that occurs from the blood cells and generally affects the spleen, Gillman was emaciated.
“I love my dog so much because I just don’t think there are other living things in this world that give of themselves as much as dogs do,” he stated. “That’s what they do. They exist to give. He is happy when he is doing for me. His love for his pack is so undying and strong, I can’t help but love him back.”
Therefore Gillman signed up Reuben in a clinical trial at Penn Vet, that is part of the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School and conducts innovative cancer research.
Most of the research will ultimately translate to humans for the reason that at the molecular level, dogs are so identical to humans.
Scientists are researching a Chinese mushroom substance that has demonstrated some of the longest survival rates ever documented for dogs with hemangiosarcoma. Prior to this trial, a dog like Reuben could be predicted to live 86 days, however the dogs on the mushroom compound are living over and above a year.
The coriolus versicolor mushroom, as well identified commonly as the Yunzhi mushroom, has been utilized for over 2,000 years. The active ingredient is polysaccharopeptide or PSP, and scientists think it has immune-boosting qualities and, lately, tumor-fighting capability.
Hemangiosarcoma starts in the blood vessels and most often affects the spleen. It generally has an effect on medium and large breed dogs, like golden retrievers and German shepherds.
“It’s a very devastating disease,” stated Penn Vet researcher Dottie Brown. “The presentation is very acute. The dog looks completely normal, running around the yard and then literally collapses in a short period of time and gets into an emergency room situation. Usually it is growing in the abdomen and also the spleen and no one sees it, then it breaks open and bleeds.”
“Owners go from one minute thinking it’s a healthy dog and the next facing a grave diagnosis,” she said. “Most without treatment, removing the spleen, live about three months. It’s very short.”
Reuben was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma in July. “It was terrible,” said Gillman. “We noticed he was losing weight and a little growth on his hip that caused his stomach to slant in.”
They got him to the emergency room and a biopsy uncovered the hemangiosarcoma. “We found out the terrible, bad news,” he said. “It was really rough.”
Brown is working with I’m-Yunity, a formulation of PSP manufactured by Chinese Medicine Holding, that has been analyzed for regularity and good manufacturing processes. It might as well go after large-scale clinical trials in humans.
“They believe very strongly that it has definite therapeutic benefits and want to apply rigorous science so the Western world is aware of it,” she said. “Unfortunately, there are lots of products on the market that say they have PSP in them and we don’t know if they do or how much,” said Brown.
source: abc news