Chinese–Danish research team finds mushroom drug against cancer

Researchers at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen have isolated certain active compounds from a mushroom that are particularly aggressive towards cancer cells. In an exclusive interview with The Copenhagen Post, Søren Brøgger Christensen, a professor of natural products research at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharma), discussed the findings and explained their significance for the fight against cancer.


According to Christensen, the mushroom, whose specific species name has not been released for reasons of intellectual property and a potential patent application, is unique in that its chemical structure is different from that of any mushroom species previously analysed. “This is a completely new class of natural compounds, which makes the research results unique,” said Christensen.


The mushroom was discovered a few years ago when Dr Ming Chen, a Chinese–Danish practicioner at Sønderborg Hospital and a specialist in Chinese folk medicine, was screening poisonous mushrooms. The mushroom is significantly less toxic towards benign human cells than malignant cancer cells – 100 times less active, according to Christensen. Based on this discovery, Xuemei Liu, a Chinese exchange student at Pharma, was able to isolate the active compounds in the mushroom in order to determine their unique chemical structures.

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